A story in which something happens about a story in which nothing happens
by Thomasina Canterbury
by Thomasina Canterbury
I resent you because you’ve changed me. I don’t mind being changed, Geoff, but I don’t want to be changed into you. One of you is enough, and I don’t mean that pejoratively, though maybe I do, just a little, but if I do that’s because you’ve changed me and made me think this way.
I resent you because my childhood was precious. Now it isn’t. Now it’s just another time, a different me. It’s prosaic, Geoff, a little bit dull, like the rest of my same-as-old, fart-in-the-atmosphere existence. In fact, I don’t resent you, it’s worse than that. I detest your fucking face, you creep, I loathe you, I’ll never, ever forgive you.
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be abusive. It doesn’t help.
But could you imagine me saying that to anyone, when you first met me? You see, you make me so, so mad.
It’s the constant drip of lowered expectations. You’re always waiting for the great leap backwards. You’re like a dog at the window, looking for the storm, howling just in case. When you live in the expectation of disappointment, Geoff, is it any wonder that’s what you get?
Is it any wonder everything’s so ordinary? That nothing ever grows?
I used to go to my gran’s every Saturday. Loved it. Played in the garden. Put straw in jam jars to catch earwigs. She managed the car park and everyone had to pay her. I used to collect the five and ten pences, count them all up for her. It always seemed sunny.
"Parents wanted you out of the way so they could have it off," you said.
My grandpa used to read me stories. Sat me on his lap, I loved the feeling of his arm around me, he felt so strong, I felt so safe.
"Probably a perv," you said.
I never talk to you about my past any more. Being with you, it’s like waiting for the childhood bubble to burst, and I can’t bear that, I hate not being allowed to love what I’ve always loved.
Why did you do it, Geoff?
It made me sick, though that might not have been your intention.
The girl who had no story to tell, you called it. A funny story, well written, like all of yours, a parody of middle-class life. Maddie – such a downmarket name, obviously not a person who’s going to have an existence worth reading about – relating her dull adventures in dullard prose, like when she visited her granny and counted pennies in a lovely English sunshine. Every scene is the same, all so ironically told, so manically funny, so hurtfully true. The girl who had no story to tell. You got £10 for it.
Thank you, Geoff.
Thank you for casting my life in your own bitter light. Thank you for telling me I have no story to tell.
But thank you most of all for allowing me to tell this one. For letting something in me grow.