For our second post, we'd like to introduce you to a recurrent motif to explore on this blog- one topic, two responses. Starting with the same theme, we'll both go away and write whatever we want and then share them in the same post. We have no idea what the other is writing, which makes it a little bit exciting, as who knows what we'll write. To get things off to a start, we've gone with the idea of a blank canvas, a white page, where we can write absolutely anything. Here we go!
Stairs by Charlotte
Oona was sitting on the stairs. Third step from the top, peering through the banisters. Waiting. It was her favourite step, if you can even have a favourite step. Maybe fondest step would be a better way of describing her relationship with this stair. The place she sits when talking to her sister on the phone and she’s been trying to hang up for the past twenty minutes. The place she sits when she’s debating whether she wants to go out or whether she’d prefer to just lounge on the sofa. The place she sits when it’s all been too much and she needs a moment to think. The in between place. The home of indecision, and the mecca of waiting.
Fingers furled around splintery wood, she waits. Eyes darting towards the door she sits breath held. Outside the sun shines. She can hear people walking their dogs and swinging children by their hands as they cackle with glee. Moving slow, moving fast, places to go, people to see, they have a motivation and a purpose. Inside Oona sits still. She’s been sat there for so long that her heart has slowed to an imperceptible thud. Mouth dry and hands sweating, she holds this pose so diligently she could be the Buddha. The Buddha wouldn’t be filled with longing, or slow onset panic though. He would be calm, zen. Oona tries to channel the Buddha.
Footsteps, a brassy rattle and then a soft thud. Oona swallows. It’s arrived.
Instinctively she peels fingers away from the wood. Her heart beating faster as she tries to decide whether she wants to run? Shaking away that thought – Oona decides she’s better than running. A pink tongue licks lips, wetting her arid mouth as she combs fingers through her hair. With caution, she heaves her ass off the stair and rights her weight, one hand gripping the rail in case she falters.
Walking down the stairs used to be easy. She used to glide down, falling gracefully, always able to catch herself if she went too fast. Now she must take it one step at a time. Gingerly dropping one foot down, transferring weight and then bringing the other to meet it. Her eyes focused, watching intently where she places her feet in case she misses, whilst her hand claws at the bannister for stability. Her proprioception is not what is was. The stairs echo the groan of her knees as she makes her painful way down one step at a time, but she makes it.
The tiles feel cold under her feet. Oona sighs with pleasure at the success of conquering the stairs and the cool relief the ground floor affords her. But with a snap, she remembers the letter and with purpose strides shakily across the hall.
It lays there quite nonchalantly, waiting for her as if she hasn’t been waiting for it for months. Creamy white paper, bright red stamp and the black scrawl of her address branding the front. Oh, how long she has waited for this. She stoops bracing her arm on her knee to scoop up the letter. Today she is somewhat deft and manages it in one go.
Unable to hold herself back any longer Oona rips it open and unfolds the paper.
Oona my love,
Are you ready?
Blanca by Anna
She is looking at me. I’m looking back at her. No blinking, no smiling, only straight faces. Mild tachycardia makes my chest shake; blood pumps through my veins; sparks flicker in my brain. - How is she feeling? - I wonder.
I’m trying to look calm, acting cool and in control of our encounter. Inside- not calm, not cool, not in control. She keeps staring, quiet, expectant. I find her pale brightness overwhelmingly tasty. So much so that I want to throw myself at it. Instead, I excuse myself and head to the toilet. I sit in a cubicle; bleach smell, knickers down, door shut. Behind it, a carving in the wood states I wanna honk Stacey Clissold’s boobs. Further down, next to the number of a so called Dina, I read Call me for relief. I grab my cell phone and dial. One… two… three rings- she picks up.
-Oh, sorry… the add says Dina…
-Yeah, well, I have it right in front of me… Call for relief?
-Fuck off, man! I don’t do that shit! Why don’t you call a hotline for some dirty talk?
-What? No, no, I…that’s not what I…
-It’s not what you thought? What the fuck did you think?
-I just, I’m on a date and I’m feeling nervous. I came into the toilet and saw your add…
-It’s not my add, man! Stacey wrote that shit to get back at me.
-Yeah, man. Do you know her?
-No, no, I just…on the door, there’s also a carving about her…breasts.
-Yeah! That was me. She didn’t like that… anyway, if you didn’t call for dirty shit…Why is that chick making you so nervous?
-Well… she is intimidating…
-How do you like her?
-Well…I like her a lot, like you with Stacey, I guess…
-So you wanna honk her tits.
-Yes, you do! If you like her like I like Stacey, you wanna put your hands on those big tits and…
-No, no, no…I want to talk to her and…fill her with my words…I’m a writer.
-Oh…well, I’m also a bit of a writer…
-Yeah? That’s great! So, what would your advice be?
-Well, I would tell you that…if you wanna honk that chick’s boobs as much as I wanted to honk Stacey Clissold’s boobs, better get to it.
-You got me?! Show her what a ‘honker’ you can be!
-I guess… what you mean is… that I shouldn’t hold my feelings back…?
-Right! That’s exactly what I meant, man.
-Pull your pants up and get back out there. You got this!
-No problem, man. Happy to help.
I get back to the table. She is there, still quiet, expectant. We stare at each other again. There’s no blinking but this time, I smile. I raise both of my hands and bring them forward, towards her. I hesitate for a second but then remember Dani’s words. I close my eyes and reach even further, until I feel the pointy touch on my finger tips. I let my fingers soften on the keyboard and into the buttons. Then I type, filling her blank surface with my letters, then my words, then my worlds.