Tag Archives: writing

Unravelled

You pursued me, pretended to love me, when all you wanted was control.

The day you met my kids in that cafe, you encouraged them to misbehave – made believe it was a harmless game. You played like a fun guy to make them like you, but you were a fungus of the most poisonous kind, killing my mind.

Your behaviour changed on the day you moved into my place, taking control of every corner of my life. You held the money and you chose my clothes. Soon I was clad in ugly rags. You bought the food, yet said we had no money for my children’s shoes.

When I wanted to stop eating meat, you bought half a pig.

When I planned to give up chocolate, you showered me with the goo. You even bought me a man’s tee shirt that said “Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians”. How could I possibly have worn that?

You bought me another that was steeped in chocolate fragrance.

You asked me what was my favourite fragrance, bought it for another woman and made sure I saw it. You wanted me to think it wass for me, and I did, giving you the opportunity to tell me it was for Kaye.

You had fun with that nasty little game, and Kaye always played along. I was meant to see the expression on your face when you spotted her in the street, and you both intended to make me feel humiliated as you flirted with each other.

I saw Kaye try to play the same tricks with other men while their wives were present, but none of them played along.

You made me sell my house, and we moved. You adult son came to live with us, and the two of you made it clear that me and my children had no rights. You ganged up on us, making the most unreasonable rules. We were there for over a year before I discovered that my name was not on the deeds. You had stolen the home that I paid for. Meanwhile your son was stealing money, and you were blaming my oldest child. I laid a trap, and proved it was him. When I spoke to you about it, you stammered, looked lost, and then became angry.

“What abot Sarah,” you yelled, “she left her bag in the hall when she came home from school.”

That was one of the rules; my girls were not to leave their bags in the hall even for a moment. Sarah had gone to the bathroom before putting her bag away.

You fathered my two youngest children, and used them as a weapon against me, spoiling them and bullting them in turns, being deliberately inconsistant, making empty threats so that they ended up confused and warped by you.

You made me feel ugly and unappealing. I did my best to please you, but that only made it worse. Other men found me attractive, and even tried to steal me from you. At least three of them went to great lengths, but ai came to the conclusion that they were all crazy – why would they want someone as disgusting as me?

I shut myself off from friends as you humiliated me whenever there was an audience. If anyone came to dinner you would push you plate away, saying the food I’d carefully cooked looked too horrible to eat.

If I made an effort to look nice, you’d glance at me then turn away, as if my repulsiveness made your eyes hurt. The more I tried to please you, the worse you became. I could tell a thousand stories of your dirty antics, but I’m bored with talking about it.

You denied your warped psychology – tried to make me believe I was paranoid, and it worked. For a long time I felt too pathetic to leave you. You made me think I was too useless to survive on my own. It was only after I finally got away that I found out the worst of your crimes.

I must have been blind not to have seenwhat you were. The clues were there every time we walked down the street.

You should have gone to prison; for a while, that was what I wanted, but it was not my choice to make. When the secret reached the ears of the man who broke your ribs in revenge for what you did, you thought his sin was greater than yours, which goes to show just how sick you are.

You tried to unravel me, and for a while it looked as if you had, but I survived, and now I understand, it was you who was unravelled. My mother once said you were inadequate, looking sad as she spoke those words. She was a kind woman. I wonder if she knew what an understatement she’d made.

The Daily Post #Unravel

©Jane Paterson Basil

Long weekend

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It’s been a long weekend, starting on Friday afternoon. Laura was with me in my flat when I received a call from the inneffectual stand-in Supervisor of this sheltered housing complex (our lovely permanent Supervisor, Sandra, has been ill). He told me that it had been reported that Laura was in the building, and her ban was still standing, so she must leave immediately and not re-enter.

Laura was banned from the complex about fifteen months ago, as a result of a noise complaint. She was in psychosis at the time. She endangered nobody in the building, nor would she have at any point, but I was very shaky and her confused, aggressive presence increased my anxiety.

I have twice since been refused an assured tenancy due to this disturbance. It’s up for review next month and I was told I could expect it to be granted if there is no further trouble – but they said that six months ago, and changed their minds without any good reason.

Even a ‘lifetime’ ban from a shop tends to expire after a year or so, if there’s no cause to extend it, but I wanted to talk to Sandra as I felt that she’d support me in getting the ban squashed. However, she’s had a lot of illness lately, and I never managed to catch her when she was in the office. The few things I’d noticed about the stand-in hadn’t been promising.

So the ban was still in place when Laura got beaten up by that monster, and ran to me for support. Naturally I took her in – it’s in a mother’s contract, written in capitals. It overrides landlords rulings, and I didn’t think there would be a huge problem anyway; her behaviour is now beyond reproach. She hasn’t stayed with me every night, and we’ve arranged for her to move to safe place far from here, soon.

Laura was about to go out when I got the phone call. I told her what had happened. She raised no objections, even going so far as to comfort me, assuring me everything would be OK. She left to meet a friend, and I went down to the office to speak to the drippy stand-in nitwit, who at least made sympathetic noises and gave me a number to call.

I spoke to a secretary who said I’d get a callback from the appropriate officer. I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t. This was Friday; the weekend was looming. I prepared the food we’d planned to cook together, then we met and ate together, outdoors. She said she had somewhere safe to stay. I knew that her ‘safe’ place would put her at risk of weakening and using drugs, but I had to let her go.

On Saturday we met in the morning and again in the evening, dining on a park bench as we watched the sun go down. She said she had somewhere better to stay than the place where she’d been the previous night. We parted.

Yesterday was Mothers Day. It began with a lunchdate with my two elder daughters and their families. After lunch we all went to the park, where the little ones romped and played. I left them at about 4pm to meet Laura. We enjoyed a pub meal with coffee and followed it up with a long walk, sitting down every so often, as I tire easily these days. She said she was going back to the place she stayed on Saturday. I reminded her that we were having lunch with my sister today, and she was excited about it. She and my sister have a special bond. Sadly, Christine’s house is too crowded for a short-term guest.

She left me at about 7pm, walking in the opposite direction to the cosy sofa that was to be her bed for the night. She told me she had to see a friend first, but I knew she was going to a dealer’s house. I can spot the signs, however subtle.

This morning I couldn’t contact her. I went looking for her at the address where she should have been – she doesn’t know that I know it – but nobody was in, and I felt her absence stretch backward – I could sense that she hadn’t been there last night.

I came home, and – wonder of wonders – Sandra was back. I saw her through the office window, so I went in to ask if she’d seen Laura press the buzzer. She hadn’t and she made me sit down and tell her the whole story, then dialled 101 for the police, and handed me the phone. The police treated her disappearance as an emergency. As there were serious concerns for her safety she was put on the missing person’s list. A police officer quickly arrived to take down more details.

Meanwhile, Sandra got hold of the housing officer, and told him he must speak to me urgently. She was asked what she’d have done if she’d been in charge on Friday. She said she would have said Laura should stay with me.

As the policeman was about to leave, I got a phone call – from Laura. I was right – she never reached that safe sofa. She’d spent the night at a dealer’s house. It wouldn’t have happened if Laura had been with me.

The police officer arranged to meet her somewhere outdoors as she didn’t want to lead him to the dealer’s house. On the way to meet him, she bumped into her brother, Paul, who was out looking for her (he had a pretty good idea where she would be, and he was right). She’s had an aversion to her father’s home for some time, but between us, Paul and I persuaded her to stay there tonight, safely away from this town.

Thanks to Sandra’s intervention, the housing officer phoned me, but he said he had to speak to another officer before allowing  Laura back into the building. He asked if I knew of any official who could vouch for her, and I gave the drugs services – it was my only choice. He promised to try to get back to me tomorrow.

This evening I rang Laura. She was happily surrounded by Paul, his girlfriend, her dad, and the cat who disgraced herself on Saturday. She says she may stay there again tomorrow night. There was laughter in her voice.

And me? Maybe I’ll be able to eat some cereal, fruit and yogurt. A meal would be too much to cope with. I’m walked off my feet, my brain’s been fried by constant radioactive calls, and I need some sleep, but for the moment all’s almost well with my corner of the world.

Later, I’ll deal subtly with NNND (nasty neighbour next door), who made the complaint. She hates being caught telling tales, and she’s so bitter and twisted that she can’t stand to see people happy. I’ll give her my most sarcastic smile, and sweetly thank her for giving Laura the opportunity to meet a couple of helpful housing officers AND to prove herself worthy of entering the building. Maybe I’ll get Laura to help me with the garden. The added advantage there would be that NNND would see the other residents stopping to talk to Laura. She’s an attractive, personable woman, and quite a few of them like her.

Sweet revenge…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Out there (Stream of Conciousness)

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In the enclosure below, white buses wait for children playing soldiers, intending to defend a country that doesn’t know where it’s going. Behind red brick and jagged wire, Army green shreds of a greedy empire cling, ragged, to their skin. Sergeants scream at lagging lads, as the keen stand to attention, toy guns polished and ready for the killing game, never questioning that they are on the right side. Whatever the cause, they will blunt their bloodied swords and raise the tainted flag of false victory, as the foe breathes his final breath, to find the only peace he will ever know, in death. Yes, they will say they have killed the beast, yet our fear will continue to fester, until we learn to live together.

Along the road, cars drive by, intent on many urgent or indifferent missions, while buses carry harried housewives home with their cache of nutritious food; but I am forgetting – those days have receded into history. The women are working, or fearfully trailing, to the Jobcentre to be sanctioned for something they didn’t understand, wondering how they will buy bread next week, knowing they may have to join what they see as the queue of shame for a free food handout. These days, the buses drag students to and from uncertain lessons in subjects they don’t want to learn, and can’t, because the courses are substandard, except for the fortunate few, who have up-to-date tutors and superior curricula.

Meanwhile, in a city we used to call The Smoke, due to the smog that hung over it, parliament buildings rumble with government people who shoulder the true blame, yet walk without shame. They jumble justice and shuffle the cards; each card bearing the name of an unwilling servant whose choice has been stolen by corrupt officers with too many ticks in too many boxes, pencilled in by people who thought only to make their own lives richer, but didn’t think to look for the truth behind the lies. Too late to take back the mistake they made, their spirits turn to sludge as they trudge though Satan’s paperwork, getting tripped at every step.

Outside, rain dulls the senses, though the day is brightened by a fading line of bright sky on the horizon. Through dripping windows I watch the traffic lights go by, to sweep around the roundabout nearby.

Suddenly I catch sight of the golden glow on the central island, and I wonder how, or why, it passed me by. My eyes are awash with yellow narcissi, trumpeting silently, promising that Spring will come, as it always does.

I feel shame; it is the daffodils, and not me, which have become the change I want to see.

I let the feeling trickle through me, feed me, maybe improve me.

The rain ceases, the sun shows its face, painting the sky blue again, making the trees glisten with drops of nature’s liquid saviour.

The world turns at its usual speed, and even with our destructive nature, we are tiny, and we cannot slow it. We can kill the deer, and ourselves, but the planet will endure until infinite space holds up its hand.

But that is not enough for the deer,  or for you and me.

Image: The least attractive  portion of the view from my window, showing the army cadet building on the right, with the white buses below, and the daffodils on the traffic island behind.In summer the trees cover a lot af the scene, leading the eye toward green hills on the horizon.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Shipshape

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Now that spring is neatly out of the way, It’s time to spring clean my blog. The plan is to have a routine – something like this:

  • Monday: Start off easy with a little poem for The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt.
  • Tuesday: Write an amusing little piece about the stupid things I have done lately – that shouldn’t be difficult. + The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt.
  • Wednesday: Write up and post for Calen’s challenge. The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt
  • Thursday: Pot Luck – when I don’t mistake it for Wednesday or even Sunday, Thursday tends to be busy, and I don’t always find the time to write.
  • Friday:Esther Newton’s Thursday challenge. The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt.
  • Saturday: A bit of flash fiction, probably involving blood and guts. The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt.
  • Sunday: Some sort of a thing.

Please note:

Sometimes I wake up on a Monday and think it’s Wednesday, so I could find myself writing a post for Calen’s Challenge from the previous week, and wondering why it seems so familiar, or I may think it’s Saturday, and write some gory flash fiction in addition to The Daily Post’s prompt.

Even when I know what day it is, my lifestyle is erratic – I can’t guarantee to post the correct piece on the requisite day, so I may post it the following day, or never.

I may feel inspired on a Tuesday to write a rant about the disgusting concrete eyesore which still blocks my vies of a small portion of the horizon even though it was due for demolition months ago, and that could set me up for a week of ranting – about small-minded neighbours who keep complaining about a resident who is unwell,  about the failing NHS, pollution, recycling, people who never think about prevention and then aggressively demand a cure… you get the gist

There will be times when I know what day it is, but I don’t feel like sticking to my calender, so I’ll list every length of fabric I’ve ever bought with the intention of making something, AND I’ll expect my readers to be fascinated. Then I’ll get behind, and everything will be a day late – except it won’t, because by that time I’ll have lost track of the days all over again and think it’s Sunday when in fact it’s Friday.

Other times I won’t feel like doing the Word Prompt because it doesn’t inspire me, and I’ll go off and paint the bedside cabinets which I picked up a couple of weeks ago with that optimistic plan in mind. If you’ve drawn the short straw, and turned out to be me, the idea of covering the Word Prompt every day is pretty unrealistic anyway.

I could get bored with the whole idea after three days and give up on it, but not tell anyone.

In brief:

Monday may arrive on a Friday, Thursday could be on a Tuesday, on Wednesday I may be bored with the agenda, on Saturday I could be moved to write about the role of armadillos in tree surgery, and Sunday may never come.

Although it isn’t yet finalised, I think my plan of making the blog more user-friendly is coming together well. I’ll have it shipshape in no time at all. In the unlikely event that you can see any flaws in it I’d be grateful for your advice.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Brave naked soldiers

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some claim that writers are liars
with gift of plausability
but shaped by truth my words reveal me
no thin or plumby voice screeches in the ear
no wringing hands or rheumy eyes plead for your belief
no added props over-reach the mark
stealing their authenticity

with no marked target
but with trust I write in virtual space
leaving you free to ignore or to read

and you may reach out through the ether
like me, sometimes in need, but never begging
oft-times planting rich seeds within the core of my being
which grow green and fat to feed me

uninitiated souls belittle internet sharing
decrying the space where we meet
with no thought for our feelings
and little knowledge of
the incidental teachings
the compassionate reachings
they tell me this place is unreal

but here you’ll find brave naked soldiers
all of us using a single, triple action tool,
a weapon of defence, a soothing balm
and a protest with no blood spent

our medals and scars are not worn with pride
but neither hidden in shame
we are many from every curve of this world
and although we are each fighting our own creeping foes
though miles apart, we stand together
and when one of us stumbles
another enfolds us
in feathersoft
ink-tipped wings

©Jane Paterson Basil

Written for Blogging U. Writing 101. Assignment 1.

Another Late Night

sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again
there’s an ache within my body and a buzzing in my brain
the words are flying round me faster than a train
tangling up and crashing til I think I’ll go insane
and I have to get them written as I know I won’t sustain
the ideas until tomorrow so I have to seize the day
I mustn’t lose the the meaning of the things I want to say
so I have to go on writing and to keep my sleep at bay
and you may think I’m silly or that I’ve gone insane
but sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again

I want to find an antidote for this silly need to sleep
I have a valid reason for these crazy hours I keep
I want to drown this somnolence as somnolence is cheap
it steals my poems away in its devastating sweep

sleep dep. and my obsession are gripping me again
Hypnos tries to rescue me, but Hypnos is a pain
though Morpheus backs him up with a lullaby’s refrain
I turn away from both of them with undisguised disdain
while the fire in my body fights the water in my brain
now the flames are winning and I feel the fluid drain
the words are making links and the links become a chain
they’re explaining the message I am wishing  to convey
and now I’m working fast and at last I’m on the way
to finishing my poem and calling it a day.

but I want to find an antidote for this silly need to sleep
because I have a valid reason for these crazy hours I keep
and I want to drown this somnolence as somnolence is cheap
it robs me of my poems in its devastating sweep

© Jane Paterson Basil