Saturday 26 June 2021

'Nude Radish Harvest' by Patience Mackarness

People would ask why we were friends, you so out-there, me not. I’d say Yin and Yang; It sounded cool, and saved me thinking of a real answer.

You came to my house often when we were kids. I didn’t like visiting yours, a once-grand villa that had a soggy sofa in the garden, sprouting mould and fungus like an ecological art installation. Inside were cobwebs, stained carpets, bits of plaster that fell from the walls with a whump and a puff of dust. There was never much in the fridge, so we’d forage in cupboards; we found potted shrimps, and anchovies that made us gag. Your parents never told us off. When I asked my mum why, she said they were probably busy. My dad said, "They're bloody hippies, that's what they are."

I didn’t tell my parents I’d seen your dad through the smeared kitchen window, pulling up radishes with no clothes on. His bumcrack was full of ginger hairs. I didn't wait for him to turn round, though afterwards I sort of wished I had.

I envied you a little back then, because your parents let you stay out after dark and run around barefoot. Later, everything you did was something I wasn't allowed to do. Or had never thought of doing. Or wanted to, but lacked the nerve.

At a seventeenth birthday party, we all got drunk-stoned and played Truth Or Dare. You took our dares, mooning passers-by through the window, swigging from every bottle in the drinks cabinet while we counted down from sixty.  But then you chose Truth, and someone asked if you ever wished you could just be normal. We laughed, assuming you'd go Fuck no! and belch or fart or spray out a mouthful of beer.  

But you said, "Every day."

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