Monday, 20 June 2011

Chapter Two

I don't believe in an afterlife. Religion causes war, Jerry Fallwell, venereal disease and the Jonas Brothers. It complicates uncomplicated sex. 
I don't believe in an afterlife. 
But sometimes I get the feeling that something believes in me. 

She was awake. Sort of. Her stomach dropped out like waking up next to a corpse with a shattered tequila bottle in your hand. 

Clarity, like strip lighting, left her with nowhere to hide. Her brain was screaming at her like Ike Turner. She was a dick. A stupid, ungrateful dick who had pissed away ten years in a haze of half started projects. Drunken rants which had led nowhere. Half finished friendships forsaken for nights on the sofa watching Greys Anatomy. Relationships with half dreamed out dreams, ending when reality proved too real. Novels, screenplays, revolutions chucked aside at the planning stage - abandoned for a can of cider and a curry. Every time opportunity had knocked she had pretended not to hear the door - fucking off to a big duvet and the numbing power of negative thought. 

Until this moment she had never seen herself as an adult. The previous week she had seen a ten year old child on the bus, well dressed in a blazer, hair combed, shoes shiny. He had carefully removed his rucksack before climbing on board the bus. 

"He's older than me" she had thought, as she squeezed past angry commuters and yelping tourists with her oversized bag. A bag full of writing that would never see a full stop. 

She had read Shakespeare. She had read Dickens, grown adult teeth and grey hairs. She paid income tax, rented property and bought lacy underwear. She stayed up late and paid using a card. But she still believed that one day the authorities would realise their mistake and send someone to pick her up, wrap her in a fluffy blanket and return her to the nursery.

She had never thought to accept emotional maturity as a positive thing. It was always too closely linked in her mind to mortgages, suburbia, breeding and going to see The Lighthouse Family. 

But she'd been wrong. She'd been so wrong. Whether or not she climbed Kilimanjaro and raised orphans or stayed indoors in a foil hat with a shot gun she was an adult, and her life was dripping away. 

The surface of the planet was punctuated with amazingness. From the giant redwoods to the quote of the day at Clapham North tube. Humanity was infinitely capable. 

Floating above the ether in a brightly lit haze Natasha made herself a promise. "Send me back" she whispered. "Send me back" she screamed inside. "I know what I need to do."