In Retrospect

Sometimes after a big massive fight I go away to Retrospect.

And in Retrospect, my glasses become clean. Images are sharper, crisper. The air is tantalising and if I stick my tongue out, I can taste everything. The breeze, the way the birds fly, the blossom petal on a wind current. Everything.

My regret because I pushed it.

My sadness because I pulled at it. Nitpicked it. Wanted to fight at the beach. Get it off my chest. But in doing so, it was hammering his chest.

Don’t go to bed cross, they say. I never do. Maybe I need to visit Retrospect before I try to get things off my chest in the moment.

Retrospect has a fantastic way of making you make mature decisions with your tongue.

Image Credit

Good Luck

She was the lucky girl, the good girl, the happiness and sunshine girl. Her bright curls and her light smile and her sparkle voice – a bubbling brook, a tinkling stream, the voice of a promise of something better. Something exciting, the whisper in the wind as you stare over a bridge at the city lights in the dark. That wind. The telling of something fantastic coming your way. That was her.

Good luck charm, her father called her. Apple of my eye. Little poppet. Pet her head. When she got too old for that it was in a knowing glance.

Sunshine smiles, her mother said. Her mother sang her name in a million variations.

Gorgeous girl. Laughing girl. Girl with all the ideas.

Happy girl, smart girl, girl with all the talents.

Girl who opened her mouth and was listened to. Who asked and was given. Who glanced and was warmed to. Girl with all the gifts.

And they said ‘Everybody likes you’, and they said, ‘everybody thinks you’re great.’

So it became that it was to everybody she looked for her self worth. Not within herself.


I spent a lot of my teenage years being insanely depressed. It was desolate. A desperation. A yearning for something but a lack of confidence to get it. Or trying to obtain it in the worst ways possible.

Dark streets and lamp-lit winter, leaves falling from trees onto shiny wet pavements. The crunch underfoot of all sorts of nature, lying limp on pathways. Outside frames my memories. Not inside the home. It was escape, really. I tried to escape, and I don’t know what from. Away from home? From heavy, pregnant expectations. Aspirations turning to dust. There was a lot of pressure and blame I think. Pressure to do well and be something because a big sacrifice was being made for me… ten years on and the sacrifice is still ongoing. Makes me wonder if it really was for me at all. Or can a judgement just be a bad one?

My sister goes camping and volunteers at a farm. She cleans out henhouses and mucks out stables. She pulls potatoes and onions, relishes in the dirt between her fingernails. Those fingernails that used to scratch me in childhood fights. Her weapon of choice, with her being so small and skinny in those days. Now she towers above me. Three years younger, and I look up at her. Notice I did not say ‘to’ her. When we were children living in the desert we yearned for the fresh green of the UK. The heavy foliage, the thick weeds. We yearned to ride horses and wade through marshes and walk through fields. Every summer when we came back to visit grandparents and family, our parents took us here there and everywhere, sfilling our bottomless cups before we had to go back to the torrid heat of Arabia and my father at work work work and my mother…. sad but trying her best.

My sister adores the farm. She says she is the happiest she has ever been in her life. She doesn’t want to leave. In the evenings she has a chat with a few straggling volunteers. Sometimes they make homemade pizza. At night she retires to a caravan by herself. The hob doesn’t work so she can’t cook anything and the bathroom is not in use, so she has to walk in the pitch black to the compostable toilets several feet away. I asked if she felt lonely or scared, and she said no way. Such vehemence in her voice. When I saw videos of where she sleeps, I could see the old familiar things that make my sister. The way her duvet is thrown back. The little things she uses everyday, and has always used. She sends me clips of her long fingers practising using a piano for the first time ever. We have an argument over Snapchat, but on WhatsApp our conversation flows freely and cheerfully. Parallel conversations, very different tones.

When I think of my sister on her farm, and me here with my two kids, I can’t help but think of me back then. I was happier away from home too. I was desperate for friends, good friends, any friends. Moving across the globe at that age made it hard to find people ‘like’ me. I was socially awkward and painfully shy. So when predators made their moves on me, I gave them the time of day. I fancied myself ‘in love’ and let them trample all over me. Heightening my depression, pushing me further into loneliness and isolation. When I did make friends… I put a predator before them. I yearned to live on a farm, to travel places, to explore and learn and have adventures.. like my sister is now. But in searching for that I fell into the wrong crowd. They laughed like hammers on a rotten fence and their teeth were brown from smoking. The put me on a drug high and laughed at my terror and confusion. They told me they loved me but used me to within an inch of my life. They hurt me and forced me to do things I still shudder about.

My parents are ‘disappointed’ in my sister, but were ‘happy’ with me. My sister who is being so wholesome and finding her joy and fulfilling her childhood dreams in the right way. They didn’t know what I was doing, they didn’t know my authentic self. My sister is vocal and stubborn. She doesn’t always respond in a way that pleases them. She has her own opinions and isn’t afraid to voice them, even if they are wrong in my parents’ eyes. Wrong in my eyes sometimes too, but then I step back and I think.. she is an adult and she is making choices, who is anybody to stop her or dictate to her or make her feel bad for it. We can make choices the other doesn’t agree with and still be a harmonious family. It doesn’t quite work that way in my family though. There is often a ‘villain’.

We are so loved, but there has to be a villain.

The Red Dress

Gathering dust, in the far corner of her wardrobe. She didn’t check in on it any longer, but Annabelle always knew it was there.

A flash of scarlet when she rummaged at the back after her comfortable leggings. A small tug at her heart. A shrug. A passing thought that she would come back to it later, when she was smaller, trimmer, sexier. Maybe Ted would look at her differently then. Maybe.

The days and weeks passed by. When she woke up one morning it had been five years. She thought guiltily of the dress, flattened by years pressed between old winter jackets, and ate another slice of cake. Her stomach distended comfortably within her elastic waisted jeans.

One day she checked in on it. Pulled it out, held it against her body. She wondered if she could slip into it like her old self could, and imagined how it would slink past her shoulders and surround her waist, hovering, floating, around her knees. Silk and gauze, satin and chiffon, all combined intricately to create an image of vivid, crimson beauty.

She sighed. She couldn’t make herself do it, and put it back on the hanger to wait another five years.

‘I’ll lose a few pounds then it will be fine.’

She didn’t, though.

In the middle of the night, when the dew glistened on the grass, singing as they perched atop the dark green blades, their voices rising in the black night, like the tinkle of a thousand small glasses clinking together; the wardrobe door opened.

It creaked a little, and Annabelle’s eyes opened. The ceiling glittered, as though there was moonlight shining on a body of water, and she found that odd, but she didn’t say anything.

The red dress swished a little. She didn’t know how she knew it was the dress, but she knew. She dared not look, for a strange fright took hold of her, clasping her neck gently with cold fingers. It slid out of the wardrobe, and as though there were a pair of dainty feet beneath the folds of chiffon, it danced ever so slowly across her floorboards, barely making a creak, and flew right out of her open window.

A gust of cool night air brushed her cheeks, and she felt her cold tears freeze.

The soft song of the dew outside drew her from beneath her sheets, and she glided over to the window in her red satin pyjamas, her eyes wide in wonder. For the world under the starry night sky was unlike any world she had seen before. The dew glittered on the grass like a thousand diamonds, and she saw the red dress among its blades. Only there was a woman within the chiffon folds, so faint and transparent she barely saw her, save for a flash of her throat as she turned her head gracefully in the moonlight, and a flutter of long, black lashes. Her hands hovered above the grass, caressing the plants, and she danced to the tune of the dew.

Annabelle stood, staring. She felt light as a feather, as though she, too, could glide out of the window and dance in the dew. She felt beautiful, like the invisible lady in the dress, and her limbs ached to move, but her eyelids felt heavy, and slowly, lulled by the soft music, they fluttered shut.

When she woke up the next morning, she was back in her warm bed. She threw her covers back and darted across the room, flinging her wardrobe door open. There was her dress, right at the front, the hem soaked.

She glanced back at her window. It was closed.

Later that evening, when glasses clinked and the chatter of content adults rose towards the ceiling of the large drawing room downstairs, a stunning young woman walked down the stairs. She was soft and warm, her jet black hair piled at the back of her head, and gleaming curls cascaded down her bare shoulders. Teetering on the edge of her shoulders, the satin sleeves of her crimson dress nestled. She walked confidently, and her dress brought out the glitter in her large, dark eyes. Ted could not take his eyes off her. Who on earth was she?

Annabelle walked down the stairs, feeling quite unlike her usual self. She glanced around, watching people talking and laughing amongst themselves. She wished she didn’t wear it. She felt the satin stretch a little around her waist. It looked so glamorous in the mirror, but now she wasn’t quite so sure. She had the sudden urge to wear it tonight, instead of her loose grey gown that she always wore. Her mother handed her a tall glass of something red and sweet, and she held it in her hands, looking around to mingle.

‘Goodness gracious me, is that Annabelle?’

She glanced up.

‘Janey! You decided to come after all!’

‘Yes, darling, but you look fabulous!’

‘Do you really think so?’

‘Oh, darling, you are positively stunning! I didn’t recognise you at first! And goodness me, Ted can’t take his eyes off you.’ She leaned towards her conspiratorially, breathing the last sentence out at her, before gulping down the rest of her drink and setting it down on the table next to her, ‘Right, I’m off to dance with some fine young gents,’ and she gave Annabelle a peachy kiss on her flushed cheek, before sailing gaily away.




Carrot Cake

For breakfast, he ordered a slab of carrot cake, coated in thick, creamy icing, and a small mug filled to the brim with a fresh, well made latte. He ate it with a plastic fork, off a ceramic plate, and glanced around at the slowly filling cafe.


‘Hi, hi. Yes, hi, Arianna.’


‘Pete, but yes, hi.’

‘Pete. You look different.’

His hair was bleached in places from the sun, and the tops of his cheeks and his nose were red, browning. He seemed thinner. His face was sharper, his arms almost scrawny. He wore a bright green polo shirt, and on his wrist was a ring of pasty white against the browny red of his forearms, where he must have worn a watch. Why did he take it off, then?

She sat down in front of him, her clothes pristine, sharp edged, and her hair cut short and straight, not a wisp out of place, despite it being loose around her face.

Her face was clear, symmetrical. She was neither pretty nor ugly, nor was she plain. She just was.

‘Arianna. You don’t.’

Neither of them smiled.

‘Right.’ Arianna pulled a small black folder from her neat bag. It looked as though it fit inside perfectly, neither too big nor too small. He eyed the folder and the bag, then scratched his neck irritably.

‘Let’s get cracking.’ Pete said, and he shoved the last mouthful of oozing carrot cake into his wide mouth, his cold, blue eyes on the folder that Arianna was now sifting through. He swigged at his latte, and then pushed his plate and cup away, folding his arms on the table and leaning forward as though he were at a social gathering, and about to enjoy himself.

Arianna glanced up at him, then quickly down when she realised he was looking at her.

‘Right,’ she said again, ‘right.’


Arianna pulled out some documents. She leant over, her straight brown hair falling over her face, and pulled a pen out of her bag, which nestled by her gleaming high heels.

‘You will need to sign here,’ she pointed with the end of the pen, ‘and here.’

‘Right, yep.’ Pete pulled the papers towards him, and as he did the bottom part of the paper rubbed against a glop of carrot cake icing on the table, smearing the underside of the crisp paper.

‘Right.’ Arianna said, noticing, and she made the slightest of grimaces. Pete did not notice, as he signed his life away.

‘Right,’ and he slid the papers over to Arianna again, leaving a trail of smeared cream across the table as he did so.


‘You okay?’ Pete took another swig of his latte, eyebrows raised in question over the rim of his mug.

‘Yes, I’m fine.’

‘Going to Spain?’


‘Oh.’ he paused, then raised his eyebrows again at her, when she didn’t fill the silence between them.

‘It fell through.’


‘Company decided to send someone else.’

‘Well. Too bad. I’m great. Had a court hearing last week, for punching a man in the face.’


‘Yeah. Punched him because he was abusing his girlfriend.’


‘He deserved it. Right twit. I don’t regret it. And I was feeling terrible because I’d lost mine.  And there he was shouting at his, while he still had her. Fuckin’ prick. Mind you, I wasn’t that great to you myself, was I… so.. What’s wrong?’


‘You’re peaky as fuck.’

‘I fainted. At work.’

Pete sat back, and swallowed.


‘That’s not nice.’

‘You deserve it.’


‘Yeah, you deserve it.’ Pete pursed his thin lips, nodding a little, and his eyes were full of anger when he looked at her.

Arianna stood up.

‘Okay, then.’

‘Call me soon.’ Pete looked up at her, and despite his cold, cold face full of hostility, she could see the desperation in his ocean blue eyes.

‘Yup.’ Arianna walked away quickly, her sharp, pointy heels clicking on the wooden floors of the cafe, the sound swallowed into the loud babble of voices that took over the cafe as she got further away from him.

Pete watched her go, picking absently at the crumbs on his plate. She exited the cafe, then stood outside for a second. He frowned as she put her face up to the sky, her shoulders rising deeply then falling, before walking across the road. She didn’t glance back once.

His shaky fingers, the nail beds black and grimy, pulled a cigarette and a lighter from his pockets, and he stood up to walk jerkily outside the cafe, where he lit up and took a deep drag, closing his eyes against the bright sun of summer on his face.



Love Letters #5

This love in tinged in darkness, I’m afraid.

I stand alone, in an empty bedroom. My clothes are strewn all over the floor. I can’t tell if I am in love, or if I am afraid.

A crumpled letter is gathering damp from my sweaty palms, clenched around it so tightly that I cease to feel where my clammy skin ends and the paper begins.

My hair is a black, scraggly mess, and my frame feels small under the weight of the large black hoody that shrouds my shoulders, several sizes too large for me. My feet are like lobsters, spread out flat on the varnished floorboards upon which they stand.

If I could go back in time, I would. I would change everything.

His face looms in front of me, long and hard, his nose so sharp it could slice cheese. His lips so thin they ceased to exist when he smiled, baring his teeth that were gapped and tinged in brown.

Dear Cecelia,

You broke my heart. You are an evil, horrible girl. How could you do this to me. How dare you. I won’t let you leave me, Cecelia. I will hunt you down. I will knock on your door and take you away. I will report you missing and find you that way, and drag you away with me, kicking and screaming I don’t care you will love it. You belong to me, only me. You hurt me so much I punched a man in the face for shouting at his girlfriend. How dare he shout at her, how dare he, when my girl left me. Come home, Cecelia, please. Come home to me, come home to where you belong.

I don’t belong to you. I belong to me. I don’t belong to anybody. And why should I stay with somebody who treated me so horribly for so many months? Somebody who forced me to do things I didn’t want to do, who preyed on my naivety and innocence, when you knew so much better. Somebody who lied to me and made me lie? Your girl? I am not your girl. I never was, you lying scumbag. Kidnap me? You think any sane person would be enticed to go to somebody who threatens to kidnap them, and who calls them a hundred times a day?

If this is your kind of love, I don’t want it. This is no love.

Come home? You aren’t home. You are cold and barren and terrifying, with your threats and your tempers and your blackmail. You are loneliness and depression. You are fear and hatred. You are misery and fury. You are not home. You could never be home.

I belong at home, yes, millions of miles from you. I wish you were dead. I wish your brain were ash, I wish you would get run over by a car and be mutilated by ten lions before I ever set eyes on you.

The sun is setting. The room is cloaked in dark twilight, the gentle light of street lamps  outside filtering in through the net curtains. My clothes are shadowy mounds on the floor. My heart palpitates as my breath becomes loud and shallow.

Stop writing to me.




The Girl Next Door

She wasn’t overly mysterious and unique, nor was she a wondrous being of intelligence and originality. She was just a regular human, like you or I (assuming you are a regular human, that is).

I didn’t know much about her because she didn’t like to talk about herself and her doings too much. She listened more and asked questions, nodding like she understood when we spoke to her.

People told me they could confide in Amelia, for that was her name. She had an open mind, they said, she didn’t ‘judge’.

What does that even mean, she didn’t ‘judge’?

Everybody ‘judges’. First impressions are judgements.

But apparently Amelia didn’t. Amelia with her short curly hair and her massive brown eyes which she kept hidden behind rectangular glasses. They were rickety and old; I’d seen her wearing them since we moved to this house eight years ago. Her style was regular. She wore dresses sometimes and sometimes she wore long maxi dresses to get the post; wildly patterned. I think she did the paint herself. Reds and blues and turquoises and oranges and yellows and pinks all spattered on sometimes in wild patterns which I knew were created by folding the dress in sections and dipping the folds in dye.

That told me she did art.

Sometimes she wore jeans and a white T-shirt. Or a girl shirt.

Once she came out with purple hair and when she noticed me gawking she laughed and touched her curls, not self-consciously, mind.

“Paint.” she said, grinning back at me as she walked down the path and out of her gate. I noticed her red ballet shoes.

“You going dancing?” I shouted after her.


I do art. Well, I try to anyway. I try to copy those realistic portraits they used to paint of people back in the day when they didn’t have cameras. It was such a palaver to have your likeness captured that they didn’t just pose in any old thing, they wore their best clothes and looked nice for the occasion. Now you can take photographs in your pyjamas and it’s alright because you have plenty of other photographs where you look nice enough to want to show to your grandkids.

So if Amelia does art, then I might have something in common with her. We’ve never properly spoken, Amelia and I. We are just friends; not even that, though. I think we are acquaintances. We don’t pass pleasantries, except by way of a smile here and a passing joke.

I don’t think we’ve ever actually been properly introduced. The first time I saw Amelia was the day after I moved in. She was hanging on her gate and swinging in and out.

Neither of us said hello. We looked at each other for a long time, and Amelia carried on swinging.

“I have three kittens,” Amelia said, after a while of staring.

“I have a dog,” I told her, “and a goldfish.”

We were ten.

Since that day we only spoke on passing.

Our mums were friends.

“Amelia’s mum is coming round for a cup of tea. Tidy up the lounge, will you?” my mum said a week after we’d moved in.

“Who’s Amelia?” I said.

“The girl next door? Didn’t you know? I saw you talking to her yesterday.”

We talked. We just didn’t introduce ourselves.

“Nice dog.” she’d said.


“You know, my dad’s allergic.”

“To what?”


Then we played I Spy, and then her mum called her in for tea.

The years after that we saw each other frequently, and spent a lot of time in each other’s company, but we never spoke. I don’t know why we never spoke.

She would come around and we’d watch after school cartoons, and then mum would give us both our snack and then off she’d go. Then as we got older she’d come around and we’d play video games. We communicated in grunts and signals. It was comfortable companionship.

Once she knocked on my bedroom window late at night. My room is on the ground floor of my house, so its pretty accessible. It was raining outside, so she was slightly damp. Her face was forlorn as she climbed in through my open window and closed the catch. she went and sat on the chair in the corner of my room, took the crocheted colourful blanket knitted by my mum, and snuggled up in it.

“You okay?” I ventured.

Her big brown eyes behind the rectangle glasses only stared sadly at me; she said nothing.

I carried on reading my book, and she fell asleep. In the morning she was gone, the blanket folded neatly on the chair.

Like I said, she was nothing special. Or different. She was a human. I was a human, and although we never spoke, we had a connection.

I don’t know if she knew we had a connection, but I felt it. Strongly.



Dear Aurelia

I hope everything goes well for you. I hope you find the right things to say, when you need to say them. I hope the blank piece of paper is filled with your squiggly handwriting, and that you can open your mouth when the opportunity presents itself.

I hope you can protect yourself from the demon that calls himself your husband. I hope his long legs get trapped in a machine with heavy metal spikes spinning swiftly, and he has to get an amputation.

I hope he smokes his lungs to dust and chokes on the remaining ash.

I hope his hairline recedes until he is as bald as he is disgusting. Very bald.

I hope one day you start growing properly again, and your fingernails reach their full scratching potential. I hope you always wear the right clothes and eat the right foods. I hope that your children become a source of happiness to you, and grow up to make you so proud.

I remember the first day I met you, your hair was yellow like freshly picked corn.

I remember all the compound ladies touching your golden locks, but you buried your face in your hands and cried and cried for your mother. I remember when you looked at me you were terrified, but I held you and wiped your face with my apron and told you to hush, else they would sell you.

They would never sell you, not somebody as fine as you were. Fresh faced young beauty, your dress a rag. No, they wanted to clothe you and feed you and make you a queen, a celebrated woman.

I remember when you married him, and it wasn’t for love or for money, but because your belly was swollen with his child. His demon child, I called it at the time but when you gave birth to little Teddy I couldn’t put his fat little body down, and I had never seen you smile before little Teddy came along. You were so happy you made me cry.

I remember when he slapped you so hard you flew against the wall and slipped down, unconscious, and little Teddy ran over to you screaming at his father, who wiped the smear of alcohol from his thin, revolting lips and grumbled about his cold dinner, which he ate callously while Teddy and I put you to bed.

I remember the birth of Lilly, and how she screamed and screamed and screamed for four months straight, and one day he couldn’t take it anymore and pushed her off the bed. Thankfully there was a pillow on the floor and she was safe, but that was the last straw. I took you to my little house, then, you and your poor shivering little children, and we all huddled under the sheepskin while he pounded at the door.

Soon he gave up pounding.

“They’re all yours, Peggy,” he roared through the door, “may they be the death of you!”

Teddy with his firm little face and his knitted brows. Lilly with her hair like spun gold, long and silky, just like yours. And tiny little Emily, who had never met her father, and hopefully never will. Kind, sweet Emily with her gentle voice singing you to sleep at nights when the tears flowed freely. Gentle Emily with chubby hands on your flushed cheeks, telling you she loves you.

I want to tell you that you are strong. I want you to know that you aren’t alone, and there are so many who love you. I want you to feel the love of the small family you have created, and your strength in numbers. I want you to see your Teddy protecting you, your Lilly losing her temper with the children in class telling her she was fatherless.

“I’m not fatherless. I’m motherful.”

I want you to remember that I remember everything. I will always remember. And to never  be afraid to speak.


Bernard Gilbert

Was a fine young man with a full head of dark hair that sprung up in waves. His eyes were large and dark and soulful, and had tempted many a doting young girl into a heartbreaking fate.

“I woke up like this,” he would mutter, mussing his hair in front of the mirror. His lips were slim red lines, the top lip protruded a little, giving him the look of a small overbite. So small. Unnoticeable, even. To Bernard Gilbert, however, it was like a giant, mutant cliff under his nose. He hated it.

Bernard Gilbert had long fingers.

“All the better to play the piano with,” his mother said kindly.

Bernard Gilbert did not play the piano. He didn’t play the flute, either. In fact, he didn’t play anything. He had never ridden a bike, nor read a decent book. He didn’t like maths, he thought historians were boring old farts, and he had a special place in his heart to hate on linguists. He thought science was interesting but had never read anything scientific in his life, save once when he was languidly flicking through a Biology book in the hopes of capturing one keen and pretty medical student in his sticky web of lies and deceit.

“I love you and your medicinal brain,” he crooned into her small ear.
“You’re sick,” the pretty medical student whispered back, hating herself for succumbing to his transparent charm. He wasn’t very clever either, she noticed. He had all these big words but they were empty when she tried to take them apart. He spoke nonsense, and quite often misinformed nonsense.

But oh, those eyes. He had a way of saying just the right thing at the right time and making her weak at the knees.

“So cure me,” he murmured, “I’m sick for you.”

She wanted to cure him. She wanted to be the one who changed him. So she tried, and when he left she slumped in a bony heap at the bottom of her bed and cradled her bony knees and didn’t brush her hair or teeth for three days straight. Then she got up and wilfully avoided romance for the next ten years until she met a nice back haired doctor who looked a little like Superman and fell head over heels for him and thankfully Superman loved her back and they got married and had three children and she never looked back once.

Bernard’s mother was doting and motherly and she loved her terrible son dearly. She thought the world of him, because he was so good to her. He visited her every weekend, bringing her flowers. He fixed all her house fixtures and offered to pay her bills.

Mrs Gilbert had no idea that her son was awful to women, and turned his nose up at things.

When Bernard was with his mum, he was the polished little big eyed boy she had always known.

She would sit back happily with her sewing and sometimes her crossword and smile to herself, “Yes,” she would think, “My boy is a fine young man with a full head of hair. He shall get a great job and meet a nice spouse and have some delicious little children. My work is done.”

Bernard Gilbert was a boring, pretentious sod who only watched selective films and wore massive glasses to create the impression that he was creative and intelligent when really all he was was lazy, an arsehole, selfish, self absorbed and judgemental.

But he was good to his mother. So maybe he could be redeemed in some way. We’ll just have to find out. I think it should be through a hobby, that he redeems himself. Maybe he just needs to pick up a book, or a plough, or the hand of an old stranger. Oh, I don’t know. Maybe he never redeems himself. Maybe he is doomed to live alone forever, shunned by society for his selfish ways.

What do you think?



How not to murder a romance.


I want to write a romance (the younger version of myself would vomit at these words.. Sorry, younger Len. It had to happen) about a young boy and a young girl who are neighbours. They both have the attic rooms of their respective houses, and their windows are two dormer windows poking out of the same roof (semi-detached houses).

I wrote a screenplay about this for an assignment. I think the younger me resurfaced though and rained a vicious tantrum over this story, coating it in morbid drama. The young boy decided to kill the young girl, and he went about it in the most cruel way possible. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. No matter which way I tried to turn it, the act was inevitable.

He seemed so nice at first, did George. He was caring and sweet and so charming. Perhaps that was his downfall. I was sad that it had to come to that.

I think I am not cut out to write a decent romance.

I don’t want to write romance like the erotic fiction section in the library. I don’t want to write chick flicks either, about domestic goddesses and frenzied young ladies who ‘don’t believe’ in love until a handsome, dashing bad boy comes and whisks them away against their will and they can’t help falling for him.

I don’t want that.

I want to write a coming of age story about a small girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. A girl who meets all sorts of odd characters, not because she is a novel girl, a story book girl, but because she goes out of her way to talk to people, and learns that everybody is a character. A girl who leaves an impression wherever she goes, not because she is beautiful or possesses magic powers, but because her mind is a beacon; a vast ocean of imagination and creativity and intelligence.

I want her romance not to whisk her away, but to creep up on her playfully and poke her on the shoulder like an old friend.

I don’t want scenes of her doing intimate things, I want scenes of exploration and chatter. Scenes of life in ways we have never experienced.

I don’t want George to murder her. I want another young man to come along and steer her ship with her.

I want her to go back to her house and stand at her dormer window and look out at the city in the sunrise, her hair flying about everywhere. The Phenomenal Girl walks along the street, road reading, her hair decorated with an array of colourful cloths, her rainbow socks poking out over a pair of old boots, and she looks up to see my protagonist and waves her book at her. The Red Lady shakes her carpets out of her windows and calls out to my protagonist that it looks like rain today and not to let the sun deceive her. A man in a patchwork topcoat raises his hat to her, and waggles his bushy eyebrows. He can’t talk. I want the girl to look to her right at the empty dormer window next to hers.

I don’t want to know if they live happily ever after. I don’t want to know how many children they have. I just want to write about the connection between two fantastic minds. I want to know how the boy sees her fiery thoughts, and how he catches them before they escape. I want to know that the girl isn’t oblivious to love. I want her to welcome it





I don’t want to know what she looks like, I want to know what adorns her mind.

Is she white? Is she brown? Is she yellow? Is she red? I don’t care. She is her. In fact, I don’t want any description of her features whatsoever.

Insert Feature Here.

She can be anybody you want. She can be you.

But how do I write all this without murdering her before the story has even begun!?!?