Reader #3: Terence Corless

During the run up to the launch of Hand Job Zine: An Anthology, we will be posting work from the readers that will be featured on the night to give you a taste of what you can expect on the 3rd of March. For more info click here and to join the facebook event follow this link.

Terence Corless

To visit the author’s website click here.

4th Weekend

(An extract from Quarter Life)

My shift finishes at five and I stick on my jeans and t-shirt and denim jacket, stuff my work gear in my bag, say bye to Keith and make my fucking way to the fucking train station.

It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from the Slug, and the whole way there the little cube vibrates in my pocket like a frustrated hamster. I get there and it’s busy outside, with people scattered all over the place. A few of them walk a bit too close to me and it winds me up something vicious, and I find that my heartbeat is speeding up and my jaw is clenching and contracting at a stupid rate, and then I see her in the corner, looking tiny with her oversized pink hoody on and standing next to some big clock. I watch her for a bit and my brain relaxes and my body loosens, and I go to her and give her a hug whilst she cries into my chest.

I put my arm around her and walk out of the train station and into the street. She doesn’t say much, just carries on whimpering, and I assure her whilst we wait for a taxi that everything’s going to be alright, because what else can I say?

The taxi arrives and I keep my arm wrapped around her on the way back to mine, whilst she occasionally looks up and says stuff like – ‘I just wanted to sort all this out Sam’ and ‘we need to work on this together’ and ‘I really do love you’ – which I respond to with nods and kisses and ‘stop worrying Liz’.

We get to my halls and I’m relieved that no one’s around, so I usher her through the car park and open my door and quickly walk through the flat to my room. The door shuts and I feel a bit of relief, and then she sits down on the bed and looks around the little room and says; ‘It’s a bit bare in here Sam.’

I look around too. ‘I’ve got a plant.’ I say, pointing to the bonsai plant at the windowsill which I got in the week from that fresher’s fair thing.

‘Oh yeah.’ She says.

I take a seat at the chair by my desk and watch her.

‘Say something, Sam. Christ.’

I rub my hand through my hair and try to will the cogs in my brain into some sort of automation. ‘Want a cup of tea?’

‘No I don’t want a fucking cup of tea. What’s going on, have I done something to annoy you? Have you had enough of this?’

‘Course not,’ instinctively seems to come out, and then, ‘I love you Liz.’

This seems to make her smile, and I find it quite surprising that I said what I just said, because lately, and especially this past week, I’d been feeling like the love was fading. But having her here now and looking at her as she really is, I guess I sort of do, still love her that is, and then I remember what’s really going on.

‘We’re just at a funny stage in our lives, aren’t we?’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘I mean we’re both starting uni, it’s a big deal isn’t it? And you know, managing a relationship is hard when you’re going through that, especially when it’s long distance.’

She starts to cry again, ‘So you have had enough?!’

‘No, no.’ I say for some reason.

This doesn’t seem to stop her crying, so I sit on the bed and hug her, and we lie down and she carries on crying into my t-shirt and slowly she calms and relaxes until we lie there saying nothing. She falls asleep, but I don’t, I just watch the wall and a crack that’s seems to be developing at the base.

 

*

 

Her arm is sort of draped over me, so I gently lift it off and stand up. I find that I’m pacing around the room a bit, my mind running in overdrive whilst she carries on in that gentle slumber she’s in.

I go into the bathroom and rest my hands on the sink and stare back at the chaotic may-as-well-be-dead thing in front of me. My eyes look heavy and blank, my jaws doing the clenching thing again and I can see the ripples of shadow on my cheek from the sharp bone, and I get sick of all this so I go back into the bedroom and watch Liz sleep.

Abruptly I kick the bed so that she wakes up – I don’t want to be mean and horrible or anything, but she really has to go.

‘Liz you really have to go.’ I say.

She looks up to me, confused, rubbing her eyes, ‘Wha’, what?’

‘You’ve got to go; I can’t have you here anymore.’

She sits up, the well filling up again. ‘How can you be so horrible Sam, what the hell is it with you? Why can’t you just be upfront with me?!’ She says, successfully making the transition to full on crying.

‘You can’t just turn up unannounced like this; I can’t handle all the drama.’

She stands, ‘You’re seeing someone, aren’t you?’ She’s pretty much vibrating on the spot and her cheeks have gone all red and she’s still crying, but there’s a mental and chaotic sort of smile there too, ‘you fucking piece of shit, Sam. That’s it, isn’t it?!’

I see red a bit and spit back that she’s one to talk, and that I know that she’s been fucking that bloke from the party up in Manchester and that Steve told me all about it, and this seems to shock her and her expression changes to surprise/shock/overwhelming sadness, and then abruptly to anger, because she gives me a good whack around the head and then another one, and then I can’t fucking handle it anymore so I shout in her face and shove her and smack the wall next to her head as hard as I can, and then it all stops.

She slides along the wall to the floor until she’s in a bit of a sitting fetal position with her head in her hands, and I just stand there, breathing bloody heavily and looking at that crack again.

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