Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chapter Seven - Breakdowns

‘I envy cars’ Lorrie tells Frank

‘They don’t hide their breakdowns for a convenient moment. If they were like us they’d wait until they were in a garage or at least parked off road before they did it, break down that is’

‘I’ve tried to have most of my breakdowns in my bedroom, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.’

‘One breakdown I had forced me from my bedroom window because of a pair of knickers!’
‘You see those knickers meant a lot to me because of a guy I really liked, I’ll be honest, a guy I truly loved, called Ciaran Reegan who confessed that those particular knickers left a mark on his memory when he’d seen me in them years before, and had gotten me out of them so that they were there on his bedroom floor, and this was in student halls where nothing equalled the vibrant pink shade of my knickers that were there on the floor being observed by posters of Pavement and Scott Walker’

'We had sex, really good sex; the kind when you can’t even speak afterwards, and afterwards, when I left Ciaran’s room and went back over to the other side of the halls where my room was, I realised I'd my clothes on inside-out, and hadn’t even remembered to put my knickers back on. They were still there, on Ciaran’s floor, all pretty in pink’
‘His friends from his block were at this point coming in and out of his room, but nobody moved the pink lacy knickers, but everyone looked, and everyone knew, and somehow from a pair of knickers they assumed that I was great in bed’

‘I know all this because Ciaran told me about it when I went back to his room later that day for more of the same. In one day he'd become my world. We’d kissed in an indie club after he’d complimented me on being the most punk looking girl in the place. He didn’t like punk music and I wasn’t conforming to any punk style. My hair was black then and I liked studs and heavy eye make-up. But his line had worked and I did fancy him, and straight away I knew I felt more for him than any other man I’d ever met, and granted I was young, I was twenty, but that feeling really meant something’

‘We went back to our halls and I told him I’d meet him back at his room as I had to go back to mine first. What I had to do was make myself look as desirable as possible even though I already knew we’d sleep together’
‘In the club our hands had found each possible entrance to each other’s clothes, we’d been the spectacle of the nightclub, but it was all very real. I could have resigned myself to being in love with Ciaran after our first kiss alone. This was new territory for me, before Ciaran I might have been called a cold lover’

‘At the mirror by the sink in my bedroom I applied more make-up even though I knew it wouldn’t last, and I traded my black underwear for the lacy pink duo I had. This would be their first sexual outing, but thankfully not mine. I felt glad that I knew what I’d be doing, and gladder still that I’d had enough booze to try things I hadn’t already’

‘When I went back to Ciaran’s room later that day we listened to Patrick Wolf. I lay outstretched on his bed on my front. He’d asked me to put the pink knickers back on for him, and I did, and I didn’t speak a word as he watched me in the lowlight as he stood by his bedroom window; smoking, inhaling, breathing me in like I was the same pleasurable ill kept inside the sticks of his cigarettes’

‘We fucked to Leonard Cohen, and even though we should've, we didn’t use protection. I knew I could sort that out, and I did, and I didn’t even feel stupid about it, because all I wanted was to be as close to this man as I could be. I wanted him to swallow me up whole because I couldn’t begin to imagine my world now, without him in it. But instead we watched how our bodies made each other’s feel, right in the very whites of our eyes’

‘It had happened. I had fallen in love’

‘But things didn’t happen for us as I’d hoped they would, and the day after our first day together I found out Ciaran was already in a relationship. I felt sick. I couldn’t fall out of love – I’d only just fallen in love. I couldn’t study or behave like the person I wanted to be. I broke down. I left uni. I removed myself from having to be around and hear the name Ciaran Reegan, but still, I remained in love’
‘It was horrible’

‘I don’t remember the day I stopped thinking about Ciaran, but it happened, until he found me on Facebook and wrote me the message:

‘I never forgot the girl in the pink underwear’

‘I didn’t jump for joy or think this was fate as I read the message. I didn't think that our timing had been all wrong before, and now this was it, here, beginning in a Facebook message, our chance to carry on what we had begun, all those years ago. I didn’t cry or think you bastard, you utter fucking bastard. In truth I felt turned on, like I never had since my time spent with him'

'I went to my chest of drawers, to the drawer where my underwear was kept, and I sifted through knickers and bras until I found the pink pair of knickers I was looking for, the pink lacy pair. I slipped the knickers I’d on, off, and I put the pink pair on, and ahead of my mirror I stood with my skirt hoisted up, so that I could see all the way up to my waist. They were a little tight, the knickers, but still, they fitted alright’

‘It was ridiculous. I was ridiculous’

‘I looked around for something to make it less so, but all I had were vitamins, so I took a whole bunch of Vitamin C tablets and deactivated my Facebook account, but it wasn’t enough, and so I opened up my bedroom window, and with no regard at all, I leapt from two floors up down towards the garden.
Maybe it was my gymnastic skills, but I wasn’t hurt one bit’

‘My friend Jane came over later that day because I asked her to, and together we burnt the pink knickers in a wheelbarrow, wearing sunglasses as we did so, because they're our favourite accessory, and do instantly make you look so much cooler'
'Jane said it was normal to throw yourself from a window because of a man, but absolutely not normal to keep knickers as an item of nostalgia'
'I think she was being nice'

'I think she was too' Frank piped up, as he navigated the loop of a roundabout making his copy of Crime and Punishment fall to the floor from the tilt of the turn.

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