So, today’s blog is a late entry to the Wednesday Write-In; yes, I am aware that today is Thursday, and I hope you’ll forgive me. Apologies for the interruption in service, but I was away yesterday, doing very wonderful things like visiting a castle and exploring a garden first planted in the twelfth century. I will also be away from tomorrow (Friday) until early next week, because I’m attending a Book Festival (the joys!) So, until next week my fair friends – farewell! Try not to miss me too much…
This week’s words for the Wednesday Write-In were:
coven :: bermuda triangle :: stroke :: discovery :: moreish
“And I say, Woman, are you mad? Bermuda Triangle, it makes people dis-app-ear…”
‘Oh, my God! Will you turn that bloody radio off?‘ I snap, as the tinny, feather-boa notes creep up and down my spine, making me feel like I’ve just swallowed a mouthful of old coins. Unfortunately, as the coven of Manilow fans sitting at the far end of the room can’t hear me, I’m essentially talking into my egg-and-chive sandwich. I fling it back into its cardboard and plastic box, feeling my stomach roil inside me as it splats, wetly, against the packaging. ‘Moreish!’ it shrieks. ‘Delish! and All for 300 Calories!’ Shut up, I tell it. You’re a liar.
“Bermuda Triangle, don’t go too near…”
I’d been convinced this empty, allegedly unused room at the top of the building had been my discovery – my own little place to disappear for half an hour a day, just me and my book – but, of course, Betty and her fan club weren’t long in planting their flag in it as soon as they’d found out where I went every day at 12.30. They’d been going here for years, apparently. I was only a blow-in, they said. Yeah right, I told them, inside my head. They can’t leave me alone in work, so why did I think they’d leave me alone at lunch?
“But she won’t see my angle, and she thinks I’m be-ing dumb…”
My book sat, unopened, on the table beside me. I stretched out one slightly greasy finger and gave its lovely cover a plaintive stroke, wishing I could carve out enough brain space to read it in peace. What with the shrieking from the other end of the room, though, there was fat chance of that.
“Bermuda Tri-angle, here we come!”
Letting my head sink into my hands, I drift off into a parallel universe, one in which I’m not the new girl, not the one about whom they’re all saying ‘what the hell were they doing, employing her?‘ One where people don’t talk to me in that slow, stupid voice they use to talk to their dogs. One in which I march over to my colleagues and rip the plug on their radio out of the wall, and they’d look at me with something like respect, instead of pity. The poor thing, their eyes say. She’s been through a lot.
The corner of my uncomfortable stool digs into my leg, dragging my mind back up out of the whirlpool. I look at the clock, hoping hours have passed, but I’ve not been that lucky, of course. I gather up my wet, half-eaten sandwich. I have to pass Betty to chuck it in the bin.
‘All right?’ she says with a grin, her eyes screaming laughter at me. ‘Nice lunch, then?’
I don’t realise I’ve thrown my sandwich at her until I’ve already done it. I stand there, not feeling sorry when the eggy mess slides down the front of her uniform, not even caring when the corner of the box hits her in the eye. Her wide-open gaze takes me in like I’m something from outer space as she struggles to take a breath. One of her mates starts rummaging through her handbag for something to clean her with and the other one opens her mouth to talk to me, to call me all the names they usually call me, but I turn on my heel without a word.
“Look at it from my angle, do you see why I’m so sad,” croons the radio as I walk out the door. I’d better hurry, I remind myself. Can’t be late back to work.