Something With Quinoa
I can feel her stroking my hair. I open my eyes and she smiles down on me. She kisses me on the forehead and gets up and slips away to the kitchen. She puts down a black coffee next to me. I can smell the brandy in the steam. ‘Thank you Sash’. My torso feels like it has been battered by a large man wielding a cricket stump. I think it’s convulsions, my body at once resisting and releasing the pain. ‘Paracetamol darling’. Sash reaches out to the side table and carefully selects two pills from the blister pack and puts them into my mouth. I take a sip of the coffee and swallow. ‘I don’t think I’m up to dancing Sash, it was a bad one’. ‘I know mum. You look like shit’ ‘I know’ ‘I’ll run you a bath’
I sit in the water and try to let my body hang loosely. It has been scrunched up in a ball for a few days and I can feel it unfurl as the warmth creeps into me. I don’t know if this is sadness or something else. She never puts enough brandy in the coffee. I know it’s because she cares but it’s also really fucking annoying. I can hear talking from the front room. It must be Jimmy. I call out to him and he comes into the bathroom, brandy bottle in hand. I don't cover up. I mean, he’s seen me covered in vomit and stood next to me when I pissed myself outside a pub, I’ve not much to hide. He tops up my coffee with brandy. It’s like having a massive silent butler. ‘Thanks Jimmy’. He screws the top back on the bottle. ‘I love you Jimmy boy’. He smiles and looks like he might actually speak but instead he just keeps smiling. He knows what I mean.
I dress slowly not because of any lingering pain but because I want this to last so I don’t have to do anything more unsettling than this. I need to go shopping. I could ask Jimmy to go but I don’t want to take the piss. I go back into the front room and there is no one there. Sash will have gone to school when I was still in the bath, Jimmy probably walked with her. Looks like I’m going to Aldi on my own. Going to need another brandy coffee.
I go out onto the street. A van rattles by and sends a fuck load of noise right into my centre. I turn and go back into the flat. I should have asked Jimmy to go. I take a beer from the fridge. I start texting Jimmy. I hold the delete button down and watch the message disappear. I’ll have to sort this out myself. I go back onto the street and shuffle a few doors down. I knock on Marco’s door and wait, standing really close to the door, like I am trying to hide. He opens the door and we are almost touching. ‘alright Martha’. ‘Marco I’m a bit drunk and I need you to take me to Aldi, ok?’ He screws up his face, comprehending the jumble of words I had just chucked at him. ‘why don’t you go to Waitrose, it’s way nearer.’ ‘cos I want to go to fucking Aldi Marco, it’s fucking Aldi I want to go to, ok?’ He looks hurt but steps out of his doorway and into the street with me. ‘Aldi it is then’. ‘thanks mate’. I sense him wince at ‘mate’. We get on the bus to Aldi and on the way I concoct a special dinner recipe to cook for Sash and Jimmy if he’s about. Like a celebration meal. I did it, I survived again, I’m still here. Something with quinoa.