Monday, July 28, 2008

8.29 On Time
It was
something Geoff said that got me thinking.

My Mum was a sociable sort and, though my Dad was less keen, they were part of a crowd who made a habit of 'going back' somewhere after the pub. The favoured venue was the kitchens of the Posh School where they could creep around relatively harmlessly, indulging in the exaggerated shushing of the very pissed and, if they were really lucky, get bacon butties at the end of the night. When this was off limits it would be round to someone else's living room to get out the Glayva.

The summer I started High School we’d moved from a maisonette above a shop to a first floor flat. Keeping out of sight was more difficult. There was no cupboard under the stairs for starters. Sitting quietly on the landing, neither seen nor heard, was a thing of the past. It was hard enough to remain undetected in my room.

Saturday nights would often end with me watching telly in the dark, on the alert for the warning sounds of crunching gravel and car doors slamming, so I could scuttle safely off to bed before they made it up the stairs.

If my Dad was feeling especially sentimental Jim Reeves would be played, if not it might be Fivepenny Piece.

Voices would start at a well intentioned hush, get louder then fade again. Never quite loud enough for me to hear what was being said, but never enough of a murmer to ignore. Laughter would break out, then be stiffled.

Because I couldn't understand it I resented their enjoyment, but I much prefered those nights of quiet seething to the ones where someone else's house had been invaded, and I lay awake until two or three imagining fatal accidents instead.

Scar - Joe Henry


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