Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Extract from 'Betty'

She danced around in fluttering dresses with her face painted in rosy hues: pinks, peaches and golds all blended and glowing along with shiny eyes under shimmering lids. She always enjoyed painting herself up to go out and dance in fine fabrics and sparkling gemstones.

The kettle clicked, drawing her away from visions of ballrooms and spinning, pulling her mind out of the old image stuck in a fading gold frame. The image that made her mind wander back to the past so freely. She gave a small sigh - taking one more glace at the photograph - before moving her slipper-clad feet over to the kitchen through puffs of steam trailing out and disappearing amongst the fading flowers of the wallpaper. It was the same every morning: up at 8.30, downstairs by 9, kettle on and photos gazed at until it clicked off and the water could be heard bubbling. Tea made and custard creams stacked on a saucer ready to be devoured in front of breakfast show presenters chuckling through the speakers of a small TV set in the corner of the room. She’d stay there until the early evening, when it was time to make dinner, only getting up to make another cup of tea or visit the ‘little girl’s’ room in between. Thursdays, however, were slightly different in routine. She’d wake up at the same time and stop downstairs with dancing, bright colours, fine gentleman and Billie Holiday filling her head until the water boiled, but would then dust and hoover the house along to her favourite records whilst waiting for her son to arrive with the shopping. She always made the house nice for him, just to try and get him to stay with her a while - he was the only company she ever had these days - even if he did like to lecture her. It was always the same thing: “You’ve lost all your friends”, “You’ll be forgotten about” and “Do you really want to be the weird woman with too many cats and not enough sanity?”
She could see his logic but still hated the thought of setting foot outside. People don’t come back once they go out there: her husband, her other three children, the cat. If it wasn’t for a feeling of duty, she’d be sure that her son would rather not have to come back and visit her either.
“Cats? Oh please, William, I’m far too creative to let that happen;” she’d joke “a rubber duck shall be my companion. A rubber duck in a bird cage.”
Unfortunately, William managed to find a way to use this joke as another method of nagging. One morning she awoke and made her way downstairs only to find a dull steel cage hung up with a plastic duck placed inside and a note attached reading ‘this one has a built in radio, so you can make it seem like it’s talking back to you.’

(Note: Steal ANYTHING and I'll hunt you down, mo-fos!!!!!)

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