They mill around the desk, crotchety wasps, all of them, calling to the receptionist, making caustic asides, until finally relieved of their luggage by capable young men in tall hats, they stretch their livid lips into smiles and cross-fade to their rooms. I do not smile. I’m waiting for Dylan Thomas. Feeling distanced from my own narrative, as if reliving a demoralising flashback, I’m waiting for a poet whom I love more than life itself, in order that we can speak, soul to soul, artist to artist. Yesterday, the managing editor of Mademoiselle introduced Candy Bolster to him. To Dylan Thomas! Over lunch they talked poetry and the rights to Under Milkwood. Candy mentioned all this with a breathless flourish in the elevator at eight this morning and a sob crawled from my throat before leaping, lemming like, into the space between our feet. Tears brimmed as I slid through the yawning lift door and sped towards the restroom. I’m in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, waiting. Per
“Mum,” Susanna began in that whining voice of hers. “Why am I so much younger than all the others? Dorothy’s thirteen and Tom’s fifteen, and Scott and Elizabeth are both ancient.”ReplyDelete
I snorted. Twenty-one was hardly ancient. She was just a baby, that’s all.
“Well, that was just how it worked out honey, that’s how God wanted it.”
Mum finished washing up and dried her hands on her apron.
“But why? Why didn’t he want me to have brothers and sisters of my own age to play with? Did he want me to grow up a loner or something?”
“Don’t question the ways of the Lord, Susanna! We don’t need to understand why.”
“Was I an accident?”
“Louise Atkinson says her mum says I was an accident.”
Mum froze, mid-carrot peel. Her neck started turning red in blotches, then her face, She was scarlet. I stared.
It was late on Saturday night and I was the only one on the train platform, except these two lads. They were horsing around, clearly drunk, and I watched them because I had nothing better to do.ReplyDelete
“That girl would’ve given me her number if you hadn’t spilled her drink.”
“No she wouldn’t mate, you had no chance.”
The chubby freckled one pushed the big blond one half in anger, half in jest. They were standing too close to the tracks and the blond guy lost his balance. He wavered on the edge for a second, then fell backwards onto the line.
His friend, panicked, jumped down to help. I could hear the rumble of a train. He supported the blond one to climb to safety. I heard my voice screaming, “The train! The train!” I closed my eyes. When I opened them, the blond man lay on the platform. His friend was nowhere to be seen.