The colour of guilt (2007)

In Caitlin, David, Sharon on April 23, 2007 at 8:16 pm

It is Thursday which makes it five days since anyone addressed her directly by her name. She does not count letters which come in the post, her husband’s endearments – honey, love or hon – or people who ring and begin by saying is this Mrs so and so? Of course she doesn’t count mum.

The calendar code for unaddressed days is red. She marks the days one by one at ten past ten which is a more random time than it seems. She counts, although she knows. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. It is the record since, six years ago, she first began to count.

And then she writes:
I leave pink smudges on white coffee cups and plastic spoons. I drink capuccinos and lick my lips between sips. I carry a black handbag and always have the right change.
I have had jobs – six – but never a career. This matters to me much less than I suppose it should. If I’d had another daughter, she’d be called Amber, Scarlett or Rose.

The phone does not ring. She thinks: perhaps it is time to record the silence as well as the noise. And then she thinks: I would use a golden pen to mark silence on the page.

She writes some more:
My husband brings me duty free perfumes. I store the bottles in the bathroom vanity. He seems not to notice that most of the bottles are more or less full.

She thinks, but doesn’t write: Except that he never brings the same one twice.

She writes:
When I am seeking comfort, I eat plates of noodles with grated parmesan cheese.
And then she writes:
Noodles and spaghetti are variations on a theme, but I would never eat spaghetti with soy sauce.

She thinks of the shopping which must be done, the washing which must be hung. There are two birthday presents to send and she will write love from gran on one. She is not sure what colour she will use.

She writes again:
It is eleven o’clock and I have heard: a kookaburra; a willy wagtail; the neighbour’s cat in the roof. She uses a different colour for each and then goes back to black. Last night: an owl; a rat; and possums danced on the roof.

She looks at her watch and then checks it against the clock. It will be her last entry for today: I want to poison the rat, but not the possum. I’m not too fussed about the cat.

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