'Running Out' by Shannon Savas

Between the pork belly and fillet of beef, I run out of words. To be honest it’s something of a relief. But, honestly? A kilo of pork belly, please. Last words ever. How bloody embarrassing.
Even so, a pretty decent trade-off because I no longer have to answer who’s texting you at this hour, what time will you be back, you’re working late a lot these days, I’ll come and pick you up, why are you wearing that? I don’t have to care anymore. Win, win as they say.
Butcher Brian wears a WTF look, but years of Christmas charades finally pays off. He plays along with my head shake to no I don’t want anything else and a panto air-scribble for the bill.
Brian, his caged parrot Rocky who never runs out of words, all obscenities, Gloria Newton our town’s answer to Twitter, the vicar, and Joe Henare in his cop car watch me walk out of the shop, down the street and out of town. I struggle not to run. Freddy the geriatric stalker follows me until the pub.
The pork belly, swinging in the plastic bag against my thigh was intended as a trick and treat Shanghai stir fry, egg fried rice and crispy onions to substitute for Finn’s expected Friday night shag.
Tough shit. He’s getting neither. But two stray dogs in the station carpark have a great supper.
Is Brian phoning his best buddy Finn? Don’t know. Don’t bloody care. I have my credit cards. My phone is on mute.
Makes two of us.
Come Sunday, when Finn’s sacrosanct time-juggling, angst-inducing four veggies, gravy, perfect Yorkshires, but-not-as-good-as-my-mum’s Sunday roast leg of lamb isn’t happening, he’ll understand I’m not coming back.
Whoop-de-bloody-doo.
I’m free.
I’m still walking not running.
And I’m still not talking.

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