Friday 28 July 2000

'i used to feel embarrassed about my past. i thought it was too suburban, too unexciting. But now i just want it back.'

i'm sitting in a room above a pub, my fingers growing wet and cold picking drowning scraps of cork from my glass of wine. my friend julian the performance poet is onstage. 'now i just want it back', he says, and pauses, and the man behind me sighs, and i don't know if he's sighing with derision or because the words did something to him, made him forget to breathe so he had to overcompensate with that sigh.

'too suburban, too unexciting'. middle sister has moved back home and youngest is down for the summer. over a crackly phoneline i ask middle how she likes being back. she loves it. they drive her to the station every morning. dad makes her sandwiches for lunch each day. i bet he still cuts them into four squares. i bet they still use white bread. i bet they still go slightly sweaty in the clingfilm. i call dad and he moans about being a 'chaffeur' for my sisters and about the pile of sandwiches he makes every morning and how there's never any left for him and the fivers he hands out because even though middle's an office manager at an IT firm, she knows dad's a soft touch for cash. he calls me 'darling' when we say bye. i should be there too, sighing, slamming doors, saying 'i hate you', smoking cigarettes out my bedroom window, trapping flies in mum's Lakeland Plastic flycatcher and feeding them to the dog. 'now i just want it back.'

 

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