141019

Free-written 2 weeks after I had a psychotic break last year

The middle-aged Italian woman across the way is at her window looking in through ours, watching me washing the dishes. Her doorbell rings and she goes downstairs. D is delivering a parcel of hers that ended up at ours. She laughs too loudly at the mix-up and tells him he looks very smart. Are you going anywhere nice? she asks. Charity do, he replies. Ooohh and you smell yummy, she says, what is that? Hugo Boss, my girlfriend got it for me. Ah, yes, your… girlfriend… how is she doing? She’s fine, thanks for asking. Well, she caused quite a scene out here the other week, she fake-whispers. Yeah, she’s really sorry about that, her drink got spiked and she had a bad reaction, he mumbles. I see… well, I hope it doesn’t happen again, she made such a racket, and all those police vans blocked the street, I couldn’t get my car out! I know, she knows, we’re very sorry. Hmmm… well I hope you two enjoy your evening. It’s just me tonight actually. Oh you’re leaving her at home? On her own? Yep… Is that wise? Why wouldn’t it be? My God, but what if it happens again? It won’t, he says firmly. You know… if you needed a plus-one you could’ve asked me – I have been told that I’m excellent company and I have many dresses that I haven’t had the opportunity to wear! Ha, well, maybe next time eh? Whenever! I’m free whenever! Come by any time! I hear D open the front door, lock it behind him, trudge up the stairs. I look down and am surprised to see that I haven’t scrubbed the pattern off the plate. I turn off the taps and go to pour myself a vodka. D says, bloody hell that bird next door is a nightmare. I know that that’s what the neighbours say about me – that I’m a nightmare. Poor D, he is all muddled up. He kisses my hair, then goes to the bathroom. I lean on the sink. The woman is back at the window. Her face is wearing the smuggest smile I have ever seen. I wave at her, not taking the glass from my lips, then swiftly flip my hand around, holding up my middle finger. She gasps, holds a hand to her heart, and I laugh and laugh and laugh until she shuts the curtains with so much force that they remain partially open. I wait, crunching an ice cube. A few minutes later I see her figure hovering by the edge of the frame, her hand very slowly reaching out to grab the corner of the drape to draw it fully closed, millimetre by millimetre. D says, Fuck going out, I’d rather stay in with you. He loosens his tie and kicks his shoes off and my face is wearing the smuggest smile you’ve ever seen.

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