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It would help me if you died

  Tue 14th July 2020

In as insouciant a tone as I can muster, I suggest to Davina, the lesbian we met in the pub garden the other week, that we could follow up on our idea of going for a drink again. Her text, in which she suggests Sunday in a pub garden, has me beaming at the phone.

After a subtle bit of mutual vetting about The Drugs Question, I hand the speed round by putting it in her friend's cap, which we take turns to admire. The drink prices are forbidding though, and she suggests we take some bottled cider up the park. Davina's friend has to go, and me and Davina chat for hours until we're shivering in the dark. Some young people are importing the eighties, with a ghetto blaster playing Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill Gang over the soundtrack of Bristol: the repeated flaring of nitrous oxide balloons and the bright chinking of the canisters. Davina dances her way back from the improvised outdoor pissoir.

Cath invites me to take my breakfast porridge with her. Something's wrong. It's to tell me that the landlord is giving us notice on the house within the next few weeks. Our suburban stability dashed. She suggests that she'd like our little made-up family to stay together: me, her and her daughter, who was going to take over Richard's room. To the estate agents, me and Cath will present as a couple.

Cath's talking collapses into tears, worries about the elderly deaf cat whom she said, quite without justification, might have to be put down. "She's going to lead the rest of her natural life out with us Cath. She's not going to any vet." I'm not sure whether to put my arm round her.

She's already arranged a viewing of a house for Wednesday. I'm glad that we're in this together. Someone to pal up with, rather than doing every fucking thing in life on your own. And it's insulation against the prejudices of the spangly-dentured youngsters in the private rental market, who'll rarely consider someone so decrepit for the vacant room.

Nonetheless, it's unnerving. There's no particular need for Cath and her daughter to trail me around with them.

I apply for five jobs, none of which I want: working in a Covid testing centre, two warehouse jobs, train cleaner, and retail security guard. But I need something to show the estate agent. I ring round some almshouses, whose prospectuses use words like "needy". I'm not old enough for most of them, but I've got myself on the waiting list for a couple. "They tend to come up quite suddenly", said one home manager. I'm waiting for someone to die.

I notice a woman in the street opposite trimming her bush. According to a report from Northeast Lincolnshire University (formerly Grimsby Drugscope), incidents of voyeurism have increased by 37% since the onset of the plague.



Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

You’re waiting for someone to die. I doubt you’ll have to wait too long given the current climate!

Tue 14th July 2020 @ 12:47 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Scarlet pet, you have brought a smile of morbid optimism to my eyes x

Tue 14th July 2020 @ 13:01 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

The olde yin and yang… what sounds like a lovely day into night in the park with Davina, balloons, booze, speed gives way to not so lovely prospect of finding new digs… guess that’s just the way of the universe now innit? part gorgeous part shite, i know that all too well… and guilty as charged, i often catch myself peaking when i see a woman trimming a bush ;)

Tue 14th July 2020 @ 14:04 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah, it’s the permanent state that renters are in. I want us to stay together but I’m expendable. Council housing almost no longer exists, although I must get on to them because some places are reserved for the over 55s.

To be honest, her bush was a lot nicer before she started hacking at it.

Tue 14th July 2020 @ 15:19 You are currently replying to this comment

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