3 September 2004


I feel like I've got Tourette's syndrome. All I can do is spit and swear and scream. I'm a hearse bandit, wanting the end, looking backwards and forwards in anger. Anger rubs out my own mistakes and where they've got me. A toilet's flushing. Somehow a flushing toilet is the appropriate sound for this moment. Fact's hard to get at in a life like mine. I've made sure of it. They'll have me cremated. A stake through my heart and my ashes in the reservoir. Nobody wants to take any chances. Nobody wants me now. Nobody wants me coming back.


This place is disgusting. Freezing cold, dank, scrawl on the walls. Dark grey walls and the smell of men. What do they call it? Battleship grey. Maybe I'm too ambitious to have morals. Very convenient, is what she'd say. I could still go to university or something. It would be good to help people instead of just using them. But I have to use them to get where I want to go, for now. Myself in the mirror, acne gone, ribs gone. There's nothing wrong with pushing yourself. I imagine each rep crushes her and all the shit she said.


Yeah? Come on then. Come on then. Fuck. Fuck off, that hurt. You're dead, fucker. Come on. You're dead. Fuckin kill you. Come here, I'll fuckin kill you. Gonna kill you. Yeah, you think I won't. Think I'm some kind of poof, do ya, think I'll do nowt about it? You're all mouth. Think you can talk to me like that and I'll do nowt about it. Fuckin show ya. I'm not taking that from youse, ya stupid little fucker youse. You've been waiting haven't ya, waiting to have a go. Have a go, then. Come on. You're dead, fucker.


Peter's gone. I'm positive now. Past scatterbrained, past confused, past senile, even. He screams whenever I turn out the light. He tries to drink from the cup but his hands are shaking and more sloshes onto his cardigan than into his mouth. I say his name, four or five times. Finally he looks at me, but I think it's my tone that does it, not his name. I watch carefully but he doesn't seem to feel the hot tea pouring into his lap. There's all kinds of ways to die out of this world. I'll not go like you, Peter.


Miranda sits by me, stands by me, lays beside me. I hate the way people smell when they've been sick. She hardly even flinched when I puked down her dress. Knelt beside me all night as I heaved over the toilet. Now I will her to sleep, bequeath her my share. It's no use to me. Lying in the dark, I concentrate on my hands instead. Pretend the cramps and pain are resting in the palms of my hands. If I just close my fist around them, if I just grab them and hold them, I know I'll be OK.


They make me sit down and eat more food than I'd normally eat in a whole day. They still expect me to get myself up in sari and bindi, a costume really, it means nothing to me at all. Makes me feel so guilty, even more English than normal. Auntie puts on some Hindi film music and asks me to dance for her. I feel about five again. I dance for Auntie in my weird, English, trying not to be too sexy way. It always makes her throw back her head and laugh so I see all her terrible teeth.

1 September 2004


I wake up again and this time it hardly even worries me that I'm pinned here, upside down almost. I cried my eyes out, I cried for what I'd guess were hours after it happened, but I couldn't believe what happened to Dan as he died. The lines on his face seemed to just melt away, the look of pain dissolved. Now it's actually getting boring. The sun's coming up, I think. Haven't heard a car all night. A single bird sings, very far away. Later, a sparrow perches in the smashed window. He cocks his head, trying to understand.


I pop a couple as soon as I get there, saying I have to piss after the long drive. I find I can almost entirely put up with Maggie's whining, oppressive, negative attitude. What happens when we get together's as predictable- and vicious- as a cockfight. She should have worked for the KGB. She can twist anything, that woman. Anything you say is ammunition, with our own children as human shields. The Saddam Hussein of the Home Counties. Jack's hammering on the door. Daddy, are you on the toilet again? These things work as well as advertised, though. Maybe better.


I'm so tired, he says, and I say Well aren't we all? You're nothing special. He laughs, frowns. Not sure what I'm saying. He's got this knackered digital watch from Japan, from when he taught English in Fukuoka. Sometimes it just starts talking and goes on for hours, jabbering at random. It's polite as well. When it's finished with the digital diarrhoea it says Sank You VELLY much, in that irritating Japanese girl-woman helium voice. His arm slips from my shoulder and we both turn our faces to the thin strip of blue between buildings and some woman screams.


The blinds are drawn and the heaters flutter like our daughter's heartbeat. The only other noise is Kim's elephant walk, her pregnant patrol across the tiles. This is the silence I forget myself in. Forget that I exist, or I won't much longer. No need to rehash what we would have done with our futures, futures that are now just black jokes, pure speculation. I feel like one of those cultists, waiting to be spirited off to some UFO, leaving Kim to attend to business on the planet. Kim. And the belly that- for now- stands in for our daughter.


Eyeliner pasted on thick like glue. Bruised eyeshadow, brown, yellow, purple. Tried to lipstick a smile over a grimace. It didn't work. Used to be so beautiful, oh and I knew it, I knew it. It's all gone now, and the people who were drawn by it. I'm broken. But still everything just happens, life goes on after beauty stops, God knows how or why. They'd need a crane to lift this face. A moment of temper and seven years bad luck. The pills take control of me. I'll sweep up the pieces of my shattered face in the morning.

31 August 2004


Draw in the back garden. Draw flowers and monsters and James. The flowers smell and daddy told me the names but I forgot and he doesn't know I forgot as soon as he said but they smell. James takes my pens and I kick him in the leg again like before when I got sent upstairs. He says he's telling, I say Tell then. Pick the flowers and feed them to the fish. The fish don't want to eat the flowers. They'll eat my finger but not the flowers. Put my fingers in and their funny mouths tickle my fingers.


She says: One more thing. Her diligent tan and her grey eyes, strafing me with her eyes. I really want to be serious for a moment. No, sit over there. She must see my odd expression and she says You know I love you and I'm more certain than ever that she doesn’t and she never has. She's like a character in a story, never caught making a bed or on the toilet. She says Close your eyes. No, keep them closed. It won't be a surprise unless you keep them closed. No, close them. And you’ll get your surprise.


Forgot how I got here. A nasty toilet somewhere, puke all over the floor, with my shirt off and some kind of sticky crap in my hair. The lav's got more dog ends around it than the ashtray. How did that get here? Handy though, someone's left a ciggie in there though it's nearly burnt out. The state of the bog makes me puke again. Behind it there's this weird, hopping spidery thing and an old condom. I think someone's trying to kick the door in. Lots of shoes under the door. Fuck off. Fuck off. I can't stop puking.


The smell of petrol everywhere, coating my palate, stinging my eyes. Net curtains on fire. Those animals outside, shouting such filth I'm glad Lorraine took the girls with her when she left me that bitch. Can't remember any prayers, just something about lead us not into temptation. Suppose I know the way already. They're just trying to put the wind up me. Papers are going to have a field day. I'll get out of this. Always have before. Anyway they wanted it wanted it wanted it and they shouldn’t go walking through the park alone at night if they don’t.


Yeah, he was like a machine. Or like some mangled insect, still humping away even after somebody’s bitten off its head. I found out afterwards it wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just women. There were men, too. Probably goats, hamsters, the slots of vending machines, toasters, who knows. His sister told me he got beaten up in a police cell, and I laughed then quickly put on a serious face and said how terrible. Anyway. Too late now. The past has already happened. It's up to us to change the future. Christ. I sound like a fucking greetings card.


Mum was a frozen thing, like one of those old old mummies they sometimes find buried under thousands and thousands of years old glaciers. But she was my mum. I'm an only child, but she didn't have time enough even for one little girl. Home is where it hurts. She was still warm, the telly on, some documentary about gophers or something, the something or other lives in matriarchal something or others. I stagger out, not because I want to, but because stumbling around is part of whatever's snapped in me. I see him coming but he doesn't see me.


I used to barely be able to watch the news. I was weak. Used to be so overwhelmed by the bullshit of life. Everything you say or think coming pre-equipped with asterisks and quotation marks. Now I'm weak, really weak, but I'm strong. Found the beauty in people I never noticed before. I told these nuns- never spoke to nuns before- I walked up to them, told them I thought they were beautiful. They tittered and giggled and blushed and I didn't tell them it took a stupid waste of a life for me to say a thing like that.


Twenty quid for a car stereo. Good one, as well. Made it last nearly two weeks. Sit on the kerb and eat sandwiches from the council van. Just bread with butter between ain't a sandwich. A bus stops. Driver doesn't see me and I breathe diesel, I can't be arsed moving. The street empties. I sit against the wall, look up at my breath and the sky. From here it's almost luminous, a luminous black. I pull the plastic tight around me, watch every breath go solid like fingers and toes but luckily I'm so cold I'm almost warm again.


He looks tiny, almost frail, my boy with the old man's face. These last few months he's made grief into something like a vice, an addiction. I'm alive in here, but all I can do is open my eyes, and every time I do he's caught up in himself. Can't read his expression. His brown eyes are distorted by those cheap sunglasses. I bought him a pair just the same when I let go of that door and broke his nose. Thirty years ago. Now he's had enough grief and it's time to switch me off. Please. Switch it off.

30 August 2004


Jo's still crying behind that sheet of beautiful blonde hair, crying into her tiger's back. Never thought I'd be so very pregnant and so very alone, not again. The blood keeps coming out from between my legs in such a shocking puddle and it's never going to come out of the carpet and Jo won't leave, won't leave, and all the dolls and monkeys and bears sit there goggling at me, all passive and watching and I wonder if they'll tell Jo and the baby that I love them and tell me when the ambulance comes and I'll wake up.


His eyes are black dots, dead space. The previous stretch he did snuffed out his humanity like a match in a hurricane. Now he's in for stabbing his girlfriend's baby. I remember asking what he was looking forward to, when he got out. He thought hard. "Nothing." Imagine. At 21. Nothing. He looks half that. One night I just cried for hours because I hadn't met anyone with any goodness in them for so long. He can't keep me here forever. I always knew he'd stab me in the back, in the end. Stabbed me in the front as well.


If Freud was the father of Psychoanalysis and his writings gave birth to it, then Psychoanalysis is his child and his writings are the mother. So Psychoanalysis obviously suffered from a desire to possess him and destroy his writings. Never let on, personal feelings, that sort of thing, but he'd do anything else if one asked. But one had never to take no for an answer, one had to drive oneself into him like a nail into wood. Ah, the darling daughter. Patriarchy's Achilles heel. Followed father into psychiatry because one knew no alternative. Always escaping into one's own mind.


My legs are starting to go numb. I could be here all day before anyone finds me. I'm not bleeding very much, so it can't be anything life threatening. But I can't get up. I know where I am, I've got my wits and I am trying. My arms still hurt and I can just about feel my hands. Now I'm being hysterical because I'm starting to imagine my legs are paralysed. I can't move them, but I think I'm just too scared. Blood from somewhere is slippery through my shirt. I'd rather not see so I close my eyes.


By the time I fight through the canteen, Sean and Tracey have already lost the battle with all those plastic chairs I never liked. Christina is sitting on the smouldering carpet next to a dribbling extinguisher. Her legs are spread and her white knickers are showing. Her normally smooth and flawless face has been painted black, with two clear slug trails slowly making their way down sooty cheeks. The smoke burns and worms up my nose and down my throat, it's like having a three bar fire in your lungs and I can't see. That red plastic really does stink.


It's like that film Night of the Livid Dead and I play the role of the zombie who Bleeds to death by the canal Staring through the eyes of the dead Fucked with a knife Stripped raped and strangled Mangled by diggers Asking for it Force fed broken glass Murder experiments Stabbed through with garden fork Falls into lift shaft because it's stuck twelve floors down. And then I'm chucked in the back of a rubbish lorry and my name not written there because I'm not eligible for any assistance as the lady said from behind her fucking reinforced glass.


He stopped ringing before either of us wore the conversation down to facts. I tried calling him, but all the computer says is that The number I've dialled is no longer in service. Now I can hear the phone warbling in everything. Every time a phone goes on a telly programme, my hand twitches for a few seconds, wanting to answer it. Men digging up the tarmac they only laid two months ago has got bells in it. Even the settling of the house at night while I flipflop between REM and doze sounds like the chirp of the phone.


He holds my hand a lot. It's like a horror film without the horror. I wake up, his hand's in mine and I wonder how it got there. It creeps sideways under the sheets and squeezes my paw masonically. He puts his hands through my hair so often I've been using the stickiest hairspray the nurses can get, just to slow him down. Not that I mind him doing it. I just don't want to go with messy hair. He kisses me, doesn't cheat by asking if he can. He knows the time is now. It's time to kiss me.


These things aren't working. His size 11s tracked across my clean carpet to the door. Wrought iron telephone stand, black curves under glass. Silk and polythene flowers, colours like old ladies' dresses. Phone line frayed away to almost nothing. Leaflets for attractions mostly closed or fallen down anyway. Dripping tap in the second-floor bathroom, with a corroded smear I can't get rid of on the porcelain. Scratch marks on the door, someone's desperation or constipated boredom. Bolt ripped off, leaving a ghost outline of itself in the paint as evidence. Age-grey net curtains. God, how many before they start working?


The nurse is one of those women who have such hard, tough looking faces that they cover with so much makeup one is amazed they don't develop hunchbacks from the weight of it, because all their self comes from those greasy lines they demarcate themselves with. It looks as if you could take the edge of the woman's face between finger and thumb, and peel her self away in one piece. What is she hiding behind there? I want to ask her, but she glides away on hidden wheels, moving her head gently from side to side as she goes.


There's something on with puppets but he makes me turn it off. He wipes his bashed in nose on the back of his hand, taps fag ash carefully into his shirt pocket. He says I told ya what would happen if you didn't do it and I remember then and see what he means. The floor's still hiding under all the crap and clothes and CD cases. He says You know I love ya. I say yeah, carefully though, but I still think I see something in his eyes get bright. Then he says Don't make me come over there.


We're thin as a glance from a moving car. You smile, you pretend you're not interested in anything, they want to shag you even more. I don't know why. I only work here. Executives are the worst. Jack Daniels and coke and beating up girls. Shirts that never quite fit. I think I've had every organ in my mouth. You don't need a brain. It's better if you don't have one. In the bitch seat, between two dickheads who keep yelling and throwing beer cans out the window. I tell them I'm getting out. Sudden blood. Quick as a razor.