In my teens I have a particular thought about not leaving the house. The thought comes in the context of my having to go somewhere every day: a kind of scab-picking, therefore; pleasurable, unsavoury and safe-ish. In summary, paper-round, mornings, Monday to Saturday; Sunday, church always and Grandma’s. Illness won’t count as a solution – in my head this has to be a choice.
Fifteen, my back to the low radiator that runs under the new house’s picture window; shifting with the hotness through my newsprint-perfumed pullover, a stolen Smash Hits and a sniffable marker pen for morning makeovers of ordinary girls and boys in t-shirts with rolled-up sleeves, and mother’s hairspray –
A new neighbour here is clearing a garden of ugly shrubs and thicket. She lines up sacks of cuttings in the pathway by our gate. As it’s our garden waste bin collection day I offer to get shot of some of it; though our bin’s full already from our own weekend assault, there’s squash-down room enough for some extra. But as I lift and tip the first of her sacks I clock the weight and then the deep chuckle of rubble: she has hidden rocks and half-bricks in the belly of the leaves.
Belle Stars, I can’t fathom how a day happens – of choosing simply not to leave the house. Staying In blooms sexily as a – my – desired state. Shy and lazy in equal measures; nothing more, I think, to tip in.
I head indoors; upstairs to where I work.