Friday, 5 December 2014

Day 5 Air by Catrin Kean

I woke choking, like someone was pushing down on my chest. It was her thin arm, weighted with dreams. There wasn’t enough air for the both of us and I had to get out. She smelled sour and sweet and she didn’t wake when I pushed her away. Her moist hair tangled on the pillow. I gathered up my clothes and escaped to the kitchen.
Beer cans, an empty vodka bottle, takeaway food cartons overflowing with butt ends. It was like an oven in there with the sun poking spiteful fingers through the frayed curtains. I ran the tap and gulped down coffee-tasting water from a dirty mug. I was so dry I felt like I might crackle and burn, and I smelled rank. I couldn’t remember whether we’d shagged. We had probably tried, or pretended, because we were both lost, two lone flies banging up against a window. I had to get out. I thought about leaving her a text but there was nothing to say. I deleted her number instead.  
Outside, I swayed in the brightness of an ordinary day. There was a kite flying and a dog yapping and some kids running. Two women from the next door caravan were sitting on deck chairs talking. I sat on the steps and pulled my boots on. One of the women was crying and the other one said, “Look Sue, honest to god you’re the strongest woman I’ve ever known and you’re going to get through this.” I walked through the caravan site past men reading newspapers and women stretched out on sunbeds and some kids taking turns on a skateboard. The sun was low and fierce. I felt enormous, like a giant striding through a toy town. I wished I hadn’t smoked so much. I wish I’d drunk coffee before I’d left. I got into my car which was airless as a coffin, and sat there. “What now?” I asked Cal.   
    “Let’s break the sound barrier,” said Cal, from somewhere in my head. 
    I started the car up, wound down the windows and skidded down the narrow lane. Birds leapt from the hedges and branches bent and snapped and the car filled with leaves and clouds of little seeds and broken petals.

About the author:
Catrin Kean is a scriptwriter who has worked for film, radio and television. She was one of four writers awarded the Dennis Potter award in 2000, and her film Gwyfyn (S4C) won best a Wales Bafta award for best drama. She has recently started writing fiction and her first short story, Dust, was published in the Riptide Journal number 8. 

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