Moon light paints the baby silver. He is lying face up in his cot, arms in the surrender position with a full moon flood right on his soft spot. Vertical rays cut up his face, moon shine through the bay window. Still haven't got round to buying a blind and now I can't shut the sky out. Infant sleep cycles are all noise, he harumphs and rears his legs up, squirms as milk washes back up his throat and sloshes against the valve in his not quite formed throat, eyes lolloping in his head. Not yet a stallion.
I keep thinking about Nile, my second boyfriend. He had cow eyes, fringes for lashes with white tips, almost translucent, a veiling. Eyes the colour of mud. When he danced at Gatecrasher, he pumped his long thin arms up and down, piston style, made frantic chopping motions with his shovel hands and it made me hate him. Movements, the wrong kind of body movements make me cut men off. It's the most fickle thing but if I can't watch them without prickles of shame barbing up the curve of my neck, it's game over.
I escaped to another hell, to Butlins, where the sea was iced and the nights were full of marines. It was the start of my amphetamine era and I was damned if I was going to commit to sharing powder with him and his obscene sized genitals. He touched too much. Talked too much. He put the family hamster in the microwave and turned it on to full. That story preceded us but it was a sign. Nile bought me a Valentine's card with two white bears on the front, frolicking together in the ice. He didn't know me, you see. I've always preferred tigers.I don't frolic.
I read all the letters he sent to the staff mail box, headed to 'Ray the Red Coat', love declarations with childish bubbles over the 'i's' and I used them to blot my Rimmel Earth Star lipstick on. Wrinkled my mouth prints all over that ink. I met a writer called Brandy with a shrieky laugh to rival mine. We drank budget Bacardi in the launderette and I plaited his long hair in to loaves of bread and learned how to scream in true Leeds style. Nile came, of course. Showed up at the chalet door, hammering and crying about my ill treatment of him. We left him in a puddle on the floor and went out the back entrance to town on the purple bus, 101, I think.
His mum wrote to me a few weeks later to tell me he'd been sectioned for the maximum time. I didn't visit. I wrote back though. Words. They always come easy.
Night feeds are always littered with the past. Hauntings, I call them.