Running to Seed
He had finished his work, the wallpapering over the cracks complete and the damage was done. She now knew who and what he really was and that, very probably, she was just another casualty on his long road of places to lay his head. Standing on her front step she watched, as the car wheels propelled him into the future, his arm from the window stretching backwards, giving her the impression he wouldn’t be back.
For days, that became weeks, that rolled into months, her bed became a place of loathing, her sleep patterns alternating between thirty minutes or a few hours pierced with pictures of him, and always awakening to the of wanting him, the needing to hear his voice, if only to explain why he had taken the route he had.
In early spring, Donna arrived on her doorstep, clutching a gift bag and card.
‘Hey you, happy birthday,’ she said pressing her large bosom into Tash’s sternum, ‘but, tell me why it is the birthday girl is still in her nightie at four o’clock in the afternoon. You should be up, lippy on and ready to rumble.’
Tash, passing through to the lounge, caught sight of herself in the hallway mirror. Her chestnut hair hung lank, her eyes eclipsed by dark moons.
‘Just because.’ she muttered. ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’
Donna looked into the kitchen, the sink submerged under copious cups.
‘You know what I think you need Tash?’
‘You need to get yourself out there again, put your wares back on the market. You’ll be fighting them off.’
‘No, Donna. Don’t you see that’s exactly what I don’t need, another bloody predator.’
‘They’re not all like that, look at me. The guy can’t get enough of me, always attentive. If I want a pair of shoes, he buys them for me. Plus, he’s an artist too.’
Donna stopped short of her pep talk, when she noticed the mist in her friend’s eyes seeping over her lower lashes.
‘Look, come for supper. It is your birthday after all. Your life has to start again somewhere.’
‘Well okay, give me an hour to apply the spit and polish.’ said Tash, her bare feet slapping over the over the porcelain tiles in the shower.
The tyres crunched over the gravel in Donna’s driveway, mowing down weeds that had begun to emerge after the winter thaw.
‘Oh, he must have slipped out.’ she said noting that her Volkswagen coupe was absent from the garage. Tash’s throat tightened when she saw a well-worn green corduroy jacket hanging on the hall stand.
‘I’ll be with you in a minute. I’m just going to kick off my shoes. Crack open a bottle of pink fizz if you want.’ Donna said hobbling into her dressing room.
She emerged, her face white, her hands travelling hard across her heavy hips.
‘What is it Donna?’
‘He’s gone. None of his clothes are in the closet. Hell, he’s even taken the silver photo frame he gave me for Christmas.’
‘Have you tried ringing him?’
‘Yes, and it goes straight to answer phone.’
Tash flipped back the flap of her tote bag and handed Donna a tissue. From under her lashes she looked again at the jacket and when she was certain of what she needed to do next, with her heart banging against her breastbone, took out her mobile and called the Emergency Services.
Copyright © Talia Hardy 20.01.2010