Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Matt, Babe and the Tattoos.

Baby was getting thin, she had started to look skeletal and her tattoos, once discreet and rounded were suddenly stark and linear.


She had started running. Three years previously she had stated her opposition to running and runners, but like her weight her convictions were also inconsistent. Some might call her hypocritical, some did.


But never to her face.


Her face too was changing; she looked older, neither wiser or more serene, perhaps haggard. But her eyes still held their shock of blue, they still struck you with their incandescence.


But now there was uncertainty there too, mistrust perhaps.


And she was tired.


Motherhood was not so kind, or certainly not as easy as she had hoped and adolescence was only now showing its expensive head; driving lessons, clothes, mobile phones, digital demands.


Sometimes in the evening she was even short with her husband; he spoke a different language than her and sometimes she yearned to simplify it.


‘Give me a break people’ was often the last thing she said before she went to bed.


After she had finished drinking.


Her drinks had become more frequent, it’s the reason she had started running; however hungover she was she could still run it off each morning. It was just that the mornings were later and later, sometimes becoming the afternoon.


‘I’ve made my bed, and now I’m in it’.  She often said this too.


But she didn’t believe it though, if you looked into her eyes you could see that.


But it would be the last thing you were conscious of before you found yourself drowning in their blue flames. Many had fallen this way, very few had struggled to return.


For many years Baby was proud of this, ‘my conquests’ she would say, adding another cryptic tattoo to her scarred body. Now though she was running out of room, only her back was an empty canvas and she had just asked Matt to take a picture of it so that she could work out the design.


She was sitting on the bed looking at the result.


‘That’s a man’s back, I have a man’s back’, she was angry.


Matt said nothing, he didn’t care anymore. For months now she had started to become the person he hadn’t fallen in love with.


Twenty-three years ago they had met on a beach in Spain, it was September. Jez was selling ice creams, a seasonal job that had one more week to run. He had a stand, a small umbrella for shade and a view of the Mediterranean. 


Her blue eyes made the sea arid in comparison.


A week later they were married; they were both young, both reckless and both far from home and the restraints of ‘normality’. They rented a small apartment in the city centre, twenty-three years ago the city centre was still undeveloped and largely in ruin and cheap; besides he had a season’s savings to spend and she had a small inheritance left from the sale of her father’s paintings after his death.


Her father had lived on another continent and had found a small degree of fame there, his death and the sale of his work had been lucrative and fuelled Baby’s escape from the New World to the Old, where everything seemed much less settled in its ways, simply because she didn’t recognise or understand them.















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