Ingrid McLaren – Headline – Line Edit – Testimony

8 Feb

Techy stuff: I just want a white wash then but when I go on to the “who’s after you” line, I want it to fade into a spot 🙂

Only one hour left on a quiet Wednesday bar shift.
Then a woman crashed in, saying, I need to hide,
someone is after me.
Not unless you buy something.
She scurried behind the bar and splattered on the floor.
Slowly she untangled herself and tilted her head to look at me.
Her eyes big, brown, bloodshot and innocent, she asked for rum.
I filled the glass in my hand with ice and Appleton Estate White
and passed it down to her, keeping my head straight.
Don’t you wonder why we don’t just stay alone,
we’d be safer if we did. She took a sip and looked up for my response.
I said safety is an illusion, nothing is completely safe.
No one is cruel enough to punish me for the things I punish myself for.
Her eyes wandered when she said that it wasn’t fair and drinking
makes it busier upstairs so you may as well be two people
and have a conversation with yourself.
She gulped down the last of her rum and whined I just want to be happy
and burst into loud, ugly crying. In that same moment
a middle aged couple walked in. I greet them with the usual fake smile
and what can I get you? The woman asks me who’s crying, I say
my colleague’s cat died today, she had it for 15 years
They’re both sceptical but order Bailey’s and Southern Comfort
They pay and walk off whispering to each other.
When they were out of sight I sigh and tell her
no matter how hard you try to get comfortable sitting on your pain,
something always tends to come along and swing from your smile,
changing the frequency with its feet while it hangs there.
Someone used to make me ridiculously happy, even if I only smelt them
If they didn’t pick up and I just got their voicemail.
I realised that my feelings has escaped, the woman
held my hand and pulled some of the pain from my pores with her mouth,
releasing some of the weights from my frown then I mumbled
Who’s after you? The police, she said.
My little boy died a few hours ago.
My boyfriend threw things
when he was angry, anything
he could get his hands on.
Noah was screaming his eyes out
Next thing I saw was his little body
rebound off the wall
Then land on the carpet
He looked like the spider in the sink
That tried to make itself look too
Mangled to be alive
I looked at my boyfriend’s hands,
into his face then ran into him,
wrapped my legs around his arms
and snapped his neck.
I picked up Noah,
kissed him on the nose
then checked his pulse.
Nothing.
So I called the police
and left the line off the hook.
She looked at the floor
and fiddled with her glass
I took it from her
Poured away what was left
of the ice cubes and refilled it
with Wray and Nephew’s Overproof Rum.

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