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Monday, 4 April 2016

Strange Ideas: Corona

Continuing the A to Z Challenge 2016


“I’ve never been so embarrassed.”

Harrison flinched at the anger in her voice and averted his eyes from how her mouth twisted up in a tight knot as she spat the words in his face.

“Suzanne, I’m sorry. I-”

“Sorry?” Suzanne threw her hands up in the air, eyebrows raised, eyes hard and cold. “Do you have any idea how humiliating it was to have to stand there and scrabble around to find a card that hadn’t hit its limit? For Christ’s sake, Harrison- you could have at least told me you’d taken the money for your car out of our account.”

“I was going to- it just slipped my mind. It’s been a really weird day…” He ached, suddenly, to tell her everything. To share it all like he used to be able to, to let her rational, logical mind make sense of what he was going through and advise him. She was so good at that.

“Weirder than having the manager at Waitrose think you can’t pay for £170 of grocery shopping? Weirder than having to admit to a stranger that you don’t know what your boyfriend has spent your money on? I doubt it, Harrison.”

She turned her back on him and started unpacking the bags, shoving shopping into cupboards with the savagery of a boxer pummelling an opponent.

At a loss for what he could say, Harrison said nothing. Instead, he sloped off to the bathroom and locked the door. Resting his head against the frame, he screwed his eyes tightly closed to stop the tears that pricked suddenly. When had it gone so wrong?  Not just the money, but between him and Suzanne?

When they’d first met, at a summer wedding between mutual friends, Harrison hadn’t been able to believe his luck. This stunning woman who laughed at his jokes and danced close to him. This intelligent beauty who held his gaze and gave him her phone number. It was too good to be true, too unequal to be comfortable.

Not like it was with India.


Brighton. 1998. Summer. If you could call it summer. Stubborn dreariness masquerading as weather, the sun oblivious to the yearning of teenage boys like Harrison who coveted the hedonistic Ibiza vibe but lacked the funds and, instead, had to make do with hanging out on the pebble beach with a few beers and a portable stereo. A summer of cheap lager, bummed cigarettes and late nights dancing to Big Beat under the arches.

The summer Harrison fell in love.

“Got a light?” 

Behind sunglasses, Harrison opened his eyes and lifted his head from his makeshift pillow on the pebbles. Above him, blocking out the sun so that it radiated behind her cloud of curls, a corona around her head, stood a beautiful stranger in a sunflower-yellow dress.  

“Um…yeah.” He lifted his hips to fish it out of his pocket, sitting upright to stretch out his arm and hand it to her. 

“Cheers.” She lit her cigarette, tilting her head and blowing smoke as she scrutinised him. She didn’t hand the lighter back and Harrison didn’t ask for it. It was a small price to pay. 

“I’m Harrison,” he managed at last.

“India.” And then that smile.


Behind the bathroom door, Harrison pressed his face against the cool wood and shook his head in tight, regretful movements.

No. Life now was not like it had been with India. Not at all.


The story continues tomorrow with Details.

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like Harrison has some serious regrets to deal with.

    ReplyDelete

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