A street off Smithdown

And so we continued. Outside is a slightly tatty street off Smithdown, but by now the yellowing curtains that covered the bay window were enough to isolate us from that day-to-day scene of Londis and Vauxhall Novas and purple bins. Those curtains obscured a view that could, for all we cared, looked out onto war-torn Iraq or the steamy streets of central New York or shimmering fucking glaciers because we are in our own world. The warm brown light from the old table lamp lights one corner of the room while a knackered, green lava job burns in the other and day or night we do not adjust these settings, rarely leaving the haven we had created for ourselves. There we fucked, mostly on the duvet and cushions in the corner which had accidentally become our bed, sometimes on the sagging grey couch or the debris-filled back kitchen from which the only outside light emerged. But that only consumed half of our energies.

In between we sit across from each other at the table in the middle of the room with the laptop and the old PC and the printer and type. And type. And type. Sometimes looking up from the screen and the darkened keys to glance and smile at each other in-between bouts. Quote something we were proud of, only to have it cheekily shot down as shit by the other. And every time I was turned sick by those deep fucking gems of eyes that offered much but revealed little. Stopping to skin up sometimes, passing bottles and spliffs across as we got lost in and what we’re consuming and the worlds we are creating, writing to the rhythms of Pendulum and Nick Cave and The Libertines and the wall-thumping of the neighbours. Every so often the passion for something other than Scotch and Microsoft Word consumes us and a glance of eyes leads to one of us taking a big swig and stalk over to the other and we put aside the words for a while to fulfil our other desire, other need, lost in the intoxicating path of creation.

The PC stopped working, broken when we were having a drunken rave. We think. So we now work shifts on the laptop while the other scribbles away in notebooks. She was more in her element there with her beautiful, flowing hand. With my spider scrawl, especially when pissed and trying to get it all out as fast as I could, I struggled to read back what I wrote. Getting the notebooks had required a rare trip to the shops and the suspension of the illusion. To queue in the harsh, fake light of Londis in clothes I don’t know how long since washed and receive under-the-breath “Smackhead” comments. But it was worth it, for now we pasted our work on the walls ever more, without telling each other what we had done, to be read at leisure for more amusement and delight and thigh-slapping shouts of “Yes!” prompting us into further bouts of passion.

The lights have gone out now. I penned a stern letter to the Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board that I never managed to send before the battery went on the laptop. We barley noticed the turning of days and nights now, but continued to write and love and drink and merge and we sometimes got up to venture out but never quite managed it and things spun more and more and further and faster we could barley see each other anymore as we reached ever closer to something unimaginable as we began put our works together, but they became harder to find. Fragments got lost in the dark. We got lost in the dark.

I woke up and looked across to the table where I expected to see her writing but she wasn’t there. Was she here at all? I couldn’t tell. I called out but she didn’t answer. I called and called for her to find me and bring some light. There was some light coming through the crack in yellowing curtains but it wasn’t enough. I called until the bile and rawness choked my throat. I tried to get up, but my weakness dragged me back to the ground.

The next thing I recall was when they came. They opened the curtains and shattered the illusion. Stern faces carried me up and out.  I could see only a mess now. Smell only the detritus our creation had produced. I tried to call out to her again but nothing came.

I’m awake now. She is gone. I returned. They allowed me after I while. I wanted to get together all that we had created, make it what it as meant to be, but most of it had already gone. I sifted around but they had left only fragments. Fragments which on there own were but shadows of what we had formed. She had been devoured by what we had done, by longing and desire and darkness. And I had failed her by letting them separate us as we were about to merge. I’m awake now, but I am cold and alone, standing in a tatty street off Smithdown Road.

By Kenn Taylor