He grudgingly walks into thrice weekly sessions as always, hating that he has to be there, but with nowhere else to go. These people look on him as one of their own, although he is nothing like them. They're simply a crutch he has to rely on and for that he loathes their very existence.
The worm-haired, loony bitch in the flowing skirts and wooden beads welcomes him, just like last time, and the time before that, and the time before that…
With her sing-song voice, open arms and an ever ready plastic cup of tepid water; the goofy smile on her face tries to build trust with him, but all it does is make him build his walls higher.
The group isn’t all here yet. And that pisses him off; how hard can it be to make it at the same time to the same place for each session for Christ’s sake? He’s here to endure it. Loony bitch is here. Jim with the bad sniffing habit, who wears sock and sandals, is here. And Alice, the fat one, who always comes with her pockets stuffed full of food has made it on time. Though if she couldn’t eat in the session he doubts she’d make it at all. She seems to have a real problem being separated from her food.
But then Nigel and Nancy walk through the door, arm in arm, eye to eye, simpering and cooing at each other. In their matching tracksuits, with their own private language, they make him want to throw stuff. In fact, he dreams about picking up one of the institutional grey plastic chairs and smashing that vile link they seem have to each other.
He potters about the edges of the community hall, from one trestle table to another, not wanting to do anything except leave. The fish tank that’s there to calm and inspire catches his eye. He goes up and bangs on the side, wondering if it really bothers the fish like people always tell their kids it does.
Harvey comes in next. He’s got a new red coupe’, the lucky bastard. Thankfully he can’t bring it in to the session, though he would if he could. But even though he’s had to leave it outside he shows off the keys anyway. And the key fob that imitates about six different car horns. Yeah, he’s really fucking annoying too, constantly turning up with the latest boys toys.
Finally everyone is assembled and loony bitch gets them in some sort of loose circle to welcome them. And everyone but her has to sit on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs that makes their arse sweat. Full of her own self-importance she calls the register to make sure everyone is really there. Because nothing patronises like making people say ‘yes’ when they hear their name called. God he hates it here.
Halfway through the session, which today focuses on using creative energy, loony bitch sits them all down again to pass round a tray of rainbow mugs filled with water and a stale biscuit, just enough on the plate for one each. Nothing stronger, nothing more, just in case someone has a ‘sensitivity’ or some other namby-pamby crap. He takes the biscuit and crumbles it between his fingers, watching the crumbs pile on the floor. He knows as soon as he gets out of here he’s heading straight the corner-shop for something stronger than fucking water.
Stories full of ‘good morals’ are told next, and everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts. He doesn’t say anything, but simply glares at Jim, who’s sniffed and wiped silvery trails from his nose up his sleeve throughout. But then it’s nowhere near as bad as when the guitar comes out and loony bitch invites them all to sing-along with her. He treats her to his baleful glare instead now as she bobs around encouraging their participation.
Finally, two hours are up, the torture is over for another day. Loony bitch checks her watch and tells everyone the session is almost ended. In the regular routine they all hurry to stack chairs back around the walls so they can leave. And just like always it’s in this moment he feels a tiny connection with the others, that maybe they hate this as much as him.
At 11am on the dot the doors open, and a matronly army of women with kind faces come in, all searching for their charges. He sees the one who’s there for him, and for the first time since walking through the doors he smiles.
"Hey sweetheart," the doting woman calls to him. "Did you have a nice time at pre-school?"
In her mid-thirties, Lorraine Sears tries to portray herself as sensible, wife and mother to all but those who know her best. Her imagination has always been her driving force, and through the years she has formed a strong bind with it, and now it work for her as opposed to against her; the many notebooks littering her home are a testament to this long and often fiery relationship. You can find more of her stories with Untreed Reads, Black Heart Magazine, The Scrambler and Pond Ripples to name but a few. Lorraine also has a blog where she shares the joy and despair of writing.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Street art by The Googly Eye Cru.
Twin Sister released their second ep back in March, and this is a new remix from the Tennessee band Coolrunnings.