Monday, August 21, 2006

I Wanna Stay 

…out all night with you. Yeah, you make my world alright.

It seems to have been raining for weeks. The air feels cool and autumnal.
Outside my window, brave souls on a voyage to the lady at the gate with the dreamy soft white baps wrap themselves up in overcoats, leaning into the wind and rain like it was a test.
The Company X Summer Fete on Saturday was, by all accounts, a washout. Surely it can’t be over already?

At lunchtime Rex the security guard brought round some early bottles of homemade wine for us to sample - damson, blackcurrant, elderflower. The good stuff.

“My friend Becky’s Dad grows fruit on his allotment,” said Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader. “She says every year her and her Dad have this competition to see who can produce the best wine.”
“Try this,” said Rex, pouring each of us a shot. “Mrs. Rex calls it Old Reliable because… well, never mind why. Just have a taste.”
It was rich and velvety and warming. Damson. I told Rex I’d take a dozen.

“Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed out - because I do get stressed out sometimes, believe it or not - Becky will say “Come on Stella. Get a grip, girl. Come with me and I’ll show you my soft fruits.”
And we’ll go down and sit on the porch outside her Dad’s shed, and we’ll talk and drink for hours on end, or sometimes we’ll just say nothing for ages, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or anything, it just feels nice, and she’ll have her hair tied back with a ribbon and she’ll be wearing this really pretty red and white gingham dress she’s got which buttons down the front and reminds me of picnic cloths and days out when I was a kid, and we’ll watch the sunset together and try to imagine what it must be like to be seventy years old, or eighty even - OMG, can you imagine that? I can’t begin to - and she’ll put a blanket over me when it gets cooler and we’ll wait for the stars to come out, and she’ll tell me their names, and when she doesn’t know their names she’ll just make something up and make me laugh. And then I know I’m going to be alright.”

“This one tastes of blackcurrants,” I said. “Delicious. Is it blackcurrant?”

Rex nodded and smiled.
The sky darkened. The rain was really lashing down now. Way over on the bypass, the cars had their headlamps on, barely one o’clock in the afternoon, and look at it, so murky.
Further in the distance, Preston, city of umbrellas, was slowly dissolving to grey, it’s hopeful citizens dashing from offices to shops, from shops to offices, searching for bargains and a break in the clouds, and wondering when it will all stop.

“My friend Becky’s is dark and sweet and tastes of strawberries,” said Stella from a faraway place, dreamily. “Sometimes I think could happily spend whole days and nights down there.”

We braced ourselves for the gathering storm, thunder and lightning, cats and dogs, and I thought about taxis and airports and hand luggage restrictions and the fear of flying and long delays expected.

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