We are pleased to be publishing a range of creative writing by sixth form students, starting with work by students at Bilborough College, Nottingham.
You are sitting, silent, tired. You are alone in a sitting room reminiscent of great-grandparents, stuffy and cluttered. There is a long clock ticking to your left, a monotonous baritone chasing the seconds. You are waiting.
You sigh and gaze at the diamond wreathed fleur-de-lis patterning the curtains until your eyes lose focus. You find that your lips are opening and closing in time with your head twitching from side to side in time with the god forsaken long clock. Your eyes are wide and vacant now and your right index finger too has caught the bug, tapping in unison on your best black trousers while your big toe pushes at the supple leather of your shoes.
At least a minute has passed of mental quietude. Not a thought has entered your head. Gently, your eyes slip back into focus as you realise that counted as a thought. The gold thread machined into ancient moth eaten drapes makes you wonder, why?
You decide it doesn’t matter, you can’t think straight right now. You drank too much last night, your thoughts are saturated in treacle, and your tongue still feels fuzzy. You lose focus of the room again, the colours muting to grey, blue and brown.
You are sitting, silent, tired. You are alone in a room reminiscent of great-grandparents, stuffy and cluttered. There is a long clock ticking to your left, a monotonous baritone chasing the seconds. You are waiting.
You have got to be joking…
You have got to be joking. You've been living in this cellar you call a guestroom for a year now, venturing out once a day dressed as Arthur Dent for Lucky Strikes and strawberry milkshake, which will sustain you until Mrs Havers persuades you to eat an egg, or a coconut, or something, and you have been telephoning me sporadically to read aloud from the memoirs of Alec Guinness and have finally acknowledged that he and Redgrave may have been more than friends. When you are outside and on your mobile to me, because I am your only contact, you talk loudly about things which you believe mark you out as an intellectual in the hope that an erudite passer-by may take a shine to you. You don't want to have to talk to them, you just want to be admired by strangers. The progress reports in which you inform me of how much of the life works of Bruce Robinson you have memorised are unnecessary, because while I once emulated you, I now have greater ambitions than becoming an alcoholic in an old coat whose boots smell of Essence of Petunia, and absinthe really is as poisonous as everybody said, and the only reason you ever liked me anyway is that my grandmother was Irish and I suffered from insomnia. You know by now that nothing is coming from above to save you so you want to drag me down as well. Will I marry you? You have got to be joking.
Do you even understand the meaning of love?
Well excuse me! But you seem ignorant
to the fact that I never stopped understanding
never stopped loving…
Hypocritically, you do not understand
you never loved yourself
Eros, Philia, Agape,
you show me merely words.
Why don’t you show me feelings?
You’re still in there, hidden
under layers of sex, self pity, secrets.
You are here, you are always here!
Ask me again…
Do you even understand the meaning of love?
Do you even believe my words?
One day I woke up with the darkened room splintered by rays of sunshine streaming through the gaps in the curtains. Midway through the daily morning eye wiping session, I noticed a scrap of paper dotted with scribblings. It read:
“Tom. I have another early start this morning, a meeting in central London. I’d like to see you again, I’ll give you a call. Claire.”
I stared at it stupidly for some time. She didn’t have an early start or a meeting in central London. She was probably now having a coffee in the Nero around the corner, killing time. I scratched my head slowly. I was paying for her drinks, her food and her cab fare home on a seemingly regular basis but once the excitement and rush from the previous night had descended, she couldn’t wait to shoot off somewhere else. In fact, we had been out many times, but I’d never seen her in the morning. I should have a tattoo on my forehead- M.U.G. This was practically prostitution, albeit dressed up with the pretence of some sort of relationship. It drove me insane.
I had to dash. I bounded down the stairs and out of the door in almost one movement. I started running. I had no direction or purpose other than to run as fast as I could. I was racing! I was like Linford Christie, steroids or no steroids. I found myself under a bridge by the side of a murky river and I realised I had no idea how I got there.
My sides ached, my lungs burned, my head throbbed and the muscles in my legs and arms cried out for mercy but still I carried on running. I felt an external force pulling me and willing me to run faster and faster. I was on autopilot like a dog on a lead, and felt a painful obedience to keep running.
Suddenly, I ran slap bang into a red painted door with a gold number 36 on it. I crashed back onto the cold concrete, panting, my head swimming and the feeling of nausea rising within me. This was my own house, I realised. Somehow, for some reason, I had run my way back home without even realising it. Then I saw, like in a dream or an hour of drunkenness, the door open. A vaguely familiar pair of eyes were staring down at me. Claire was standing there, seemingly swaying from side to side.
“Where have you been?” I heard her say in the distance. My head throbbed and my vision became blurred. “I went to the loo and when I got back to the bedroom, you’d gone. You look a state, what happened to you?”
All I could mutter was “…the note..note…?”
Ode to Bed
I love my bed.
When I was little, and I mean really little,
It was my house.
They came and they stared
And they tickled me through the bars.
Then when I was bigger (but still little)
It was my trampoline
And it never threw me off
Just the teddies who looked at me funny.
I wasn’t so little
By the time it was my pirate ship
My castle for me to be king of, my den in the forest
My ‘I-don’t-want-to-go-to-bed’ bed
My ‘change-my-mind-with-a-cookie’ bed.
But then I grew bigger
And it became my sofa, my workstation
My library-bed, my storage space
I felt like the princess at times
Only instead of peas, I had textbooks.
Then it was my comfort
A shoulder to cry into, a punch bag on occasion
I treated my bed badly, and I’m sorry, God
Because then it turned around
It was my marital bed.
My count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two bed
My rose-petal holder bed. Home of my dreams.
Now it’s a different bed
It smells funny and the sheets are crisp
People come and stare
They don’t tickle me through the bars anymore
But it’s still my bed
All of my beds have been my bed
I love all of my beds.
My death bed, my heaven-sent messenger bed.
My don’t-look-at-the-light bed.
Thank you for this bed,
20/11/2006 Stimulus: Flight
A feral sort of feeling, flight. Fleeting, but free- oh, so free. And full of friends, flying friends, like fabled fairies and ferocious falcons, swans, doves. Angels, maybe. Balloons, on occasion, released from the hand of a tiny child, and gaining height. An improbable flight.
Eyes bright, by a tiny window. Outside, moonlight, serenely floating above frugal clouds. And I, light, amidst angels and fairies tonight, only tonight. A sight to cheer your young heart.
You are flying too. In a huge contraption that seems too ungainly to be airborne. Not like me. I dance like a kite, alighting then fluttering away from those huge fake wings. You would always choose a window seat, a wing seat. To look down over a sleeping world. A world you are leaving.
I dangle my feet from the edge of the wing- cold in the North Atlantic air. Land rushes below, tiny lights at midnight. A million people asleep, flying on their own wings- their dream wings. Yet you fight to stay awake on this boring flight. Let go, bite the bullet, come soaring with me and my feathered friends. An emigration to Los Angeles will do you good. In the bosom of the City of Angels. Get you away from it all, finally. But is final what you want? Isn’t final the flight path you never wanted to take? A fall? Fleeing what’s never forgiven, but almost forgotten? Failure?
My fingertips meet the window, and my feet hold their grip on this fake wing- ferrous and weighty. At the funeral, you asked if Mummy could fly with the angels. I’d answer fully, but now you’re asleep, your fair hair straying across your face, fluttering in your breath, mingling with the fabric of the headrest. Fast asleep. Sleep tight.
Send a paper plane my way when you get to LA. I’ll be on the next flight over.
25/09/2006 Stimulus: The Letter L
Love, life, leverage. Looking lovely, like luscious, lacerated lemon-lime leftovers, lucky, labyrinthine. Lesions’ lustre, luminous like light. Loveable lout, lyrical lees, lately lifeless, languishing lard, licking lozenges, linctuses, liniments. Lingering life.
Legs lead lion lust lovers lightly, lethally. Lost loves leap like lemurs, leaving luring ladies lonely, lacking lusty lads. Laying lonely, languishing lavishly, less love left. Lamenting losses like lifeless lanterns, lighting little lanes, left laundering lone larks’ lullabies. Lancelot looks laudable, leisurely languid, ladies lose language. Lovely. Less language, less laws, lone lions leave lasses laughing, later loveless. Liberator, liberated, Lancelot loves like leeches, leaving little. Largesse, loving lonely ladies like lambs? Larceny! Lifting latches, large ladles lost like lightening. Latches land, love lakes lessened, locker left. Locked lattices lampooned, landscape light lilac, lawn lifeless. Lancelot leaves.
Lilith’s lair landslides- lovely, lusty lost loverboy, lasting lapdog. Lilith’s light locks, lassos, lash lovestruck lads like lethal lava. Lilith’s laurels, lovely lads, little lapsed, like late larvae. Licentious Lilith, lady liar, lyrically lurking, leering loathsomely like lower level leviathan. Lady Lilith lies luxuriantly, living lewd liaisons, leaving legacies- lithe lap-dances, lush loins, luring lips lending light-headed lucidity, largely losing lifetime lessons. Ludicrous- lads like lambs, led lightly, lolling, lulled, lassitude like lunar lilies. Lilith’s lounging, lissom limbs, luring, lecturing liberal, ludicrously literal, lurid lust, leisurely loquacious like lawyers’ letters. Lucid. Lunatic lad loiters, lest Lilith let loose lucrative loot. Lying levity locks lad, lexis levitating, lost. Lovemaking looms, Lilith leaving layers, lilac lingerie, lace lined, littering lukewarm land. Linked locket lionises lad, lifting leaden lungs, limitless love. Later, luck leaves, love leaves liable lad listless, limp, lugubrious. Lilith’s lidded look levies life. Lilith’s love- like leprechaun’s loan- lottery.
Latitude, longitude, legislation. Like liquefied, listless, lank leeches, lieutenants lead (lineage legitimate, lacking logic), luminaries (legions, least- licensed lads; largest- loud, lurching lapels, limelight lovers) listen leniently. Luminary’s lightweight literature, lucent, loved, lorry loads leaving, loading local libraries, lynching loyal legions’ logic. Lathery, lateral lingo, low lore like luxurious litter, laminated loo-roll, llama’s lunch. Lofty lad, lively lotion leader, (location: lobby, lodgers: lasses) launching loopy literature lilts libel ligament leeward (leaders’ logo losing luminescence, legal lexicon lumbering livid luminary), lunging lousily. Lake looks lovely- long leap loses lacking lump, loses lacklustre life. Limbo.
Leaders litigate lunatic locomotive lover- lamppost length lessened (laughable lamppost-locomotive liaison lightens low lives- lawyers laugh less). Leeway lent, locomotive lunatic let live. Last lists, large lords, la-di-dah ladies, leave laconically like leaves, like labels, like life. Legendary lions lug lightening lasers, loping, loading limestone lintel- laurel loci, lion’s livelihood, life-giving lamp, loaf. Lax leaders let lilac liquor, lucky luminescence like lavender lagoon, linger loftily, laboriously left like Lilith’s lace later. Library ladders like lazy layabouts, laggards, laden, lagging, loaded like llamas, lobbing limericks. Lancelot loves, Lilith loves, luminaries lop logic. Limber lianas live, land lives, lion lives. Levering life like lacquer, like lead, lighting lemonade lifeblood.