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Birthday blues were out of the way by the twentieth. I realised they had gone as I sat erect and disinterested at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the sun setting with long golden shapes that looked like wings over the expanse of kept grass. Having witnessed precisely one over, I grew bored and took to drinking from my friend’s bottle of white wine, which was sour and almost caused me to gag. Everything was quite peaceful and I was seeing colours again, quite clearly, I easily became excited, emotions were intense as they were varied, and the prolonged drought of anything resembling joy had disappeared just as shade crept up the stands.

On the early Saturday train, holiday-makers sat in the booths and talked over coffee and sandal’d feet. We sped toward the coast under a renewed summer sun. They disembarked at the end-of-the-line; barely dressed, carrying bags, childish drags, talking endlessly & loud; they queued and passed through the gate. I began to walk towards my parents house. There would be breakfast, coffee, my nieces. I’d have a cigarette in the garden and smile the air.

The eldest niece wrapped her arms around my thighs; I kissed my hand and put it on her hair, said hello. My other niece was playing her game of crawling back & forth over the back door’s threshold. She turned, squinted teeth at me. I raised her up. Her messy hair smelled like home again.

We all sat down and drank coffee.

I would turn thirty-four the next day.

In the mornings I drank a lot of coffee. It was easy to drink coffee there. It went naturally with the bright sunshine and hot paving slabs, the sounds of neighbourhood, the cloudless blue. For a few hours every morning I would drink coffee and squint upwards. On my birthday, my mother said—‘This time thirty-four years ago I was in labour.’
She said it every year. My father—‘You were trying not to shit yourself ‘cause you fancied that doctor!’ — ‘That’s right!’ — ‘You didn’t listen to him. He told you to push and you were too scared of shitting yourself in front of him.’ — ‘I was. He was lovely though.’ Every year the same story. I wonder where the doctor is now. Is he drinking coffee in the sunshine, too? ‘Oh, look!’ my mother pointing at the end of the garden—‘The cat’s back!’ No one knew the cat’s name but it spent a lot of time in my parents’ garden and had even taken to entering the house, jumping on the furniture and trying to eat food off the worktop before my mother could swoop in clapping like a maniac and shouting ‘Shoo! Shoo!’ The cat had had a collar, but then the collar disappeared and she worried for the cat — which she affectionately called ‘Cat’ — and so she gave it some tuna. Cat ate the tuna, then took to cleaning herself on the doormat, stopping every now & then to look out executively at the garden where all the birds chirped & chirruped.

All afternoon we played in the water, my cousins & I. We invented games and soon everyone else joined in. For hours this went on. At the end we were tired, wrinkled, the sun was setting (late August) and I needed to walk down the shop. I felt my skin stretching over me with every step, could smell the chlorine. I bought a can of cold coke, very cold coke, and I drank it as I walked back. The very cold coke dribbled down my chin. I licked my lips.

Everything was simple, it was. I did not think of work or really of life beyond the extent of bloodlines, barely beyond the horizon of gold & blue, three cups of coffee in the morning, a game of scrabble over a few beers.

Some days Cat didn’t show up, and we all missed her. My mother spent ten minutes down the pet aisle trying to decide which food to get her. Then Cat stopped turning up altogether.

A collection of writings, poems and stories by the anonymous author ~  contact

Ah, we’re an ungrateful race! When I look at my hand upon the window sill and think what pleasure I’ve had in it, how it’s touched silk and pottery and hot walls, laid itself flat upon wet grass or sun-baked, let the Atlantic spurt through its fingers, snapped blue bells and daffodils, plucked ripe plums, never for a second since I was born ceased to tell me of hot and cold, damp or dryness, I’m amazed that I should use this wonderful composition of flesh and nerve to write the abuse of life. Yet that’s what we do. Come to think of it, literature is the record of our discontent.
T H E   E V E N I N G   P A R T Y Virgina Woolf