'You do not have to say anything' by Kathryn Smith

Blue pulsing light is all around me. In the dark I step again into this other world like a dancer jerking in a strobe. I know the steps all too well. Night after night: after the barbecue, after the football, after the one too many, I pick up the pieces.

I am short of air. I feel like a diver now, under pressure. As I walk to the broken gate I hear only the lub-dub of my own heartbeat, the submarine bips of the radio on my shoulder and a slush of static. My boots crunch broken glass like shells. I switch on the body cam over my ear; become robotic.

I take it all in; my mind like the grainy dispassionate truth of the replay. 

Rubbish spills out of countless bin bags. I see a scattering of delicate bones - thighs and tiny femurs picked clean by cats. Lives are smeared on the street: bottles, cans, fried rice, a wreck of kebabs, something like ribs in sticky sauce, shitty nappies, and yes, an arc of blood. 

I glance towards the neighbours' windows. They quickly move back. Facts are noted and logged from behind curtains, which then close tight with minds and lips.

I move fast now.

The door is off its hinges. Clothes, strewn on the steps are covered in shattered glass like rhinestones.

........You do not have to say anything.

The room has imploded. There is a sticky mix of blood and potpourri. A scented Candle splutters on a romantic evening.

......It may harm your defence.

I am so weary of all your excuses.

Anything you do say........

You are crying now, still with a clump of your wife's hair wrapped round your fingers. A dark red love knot.

What can you possibly say?


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