Saturday, 18 June 2022

'Ronnie O’Sullivan changed my life' by Shelley Roche-Jacques

It was after I learnt that adding the milk really slowly to a cup of tea makes it so much better.

Ronnie mentioned it in an interview from his Chigwell mansion for a lifestyle piece he was doing for the Sunday supplement.

Ronnie was right; there’s a smoothness, a gentle fusion. The milk and tea particles are in respectful dialogue instead of slamming one another.

I tried it with other things: running the hot and cold taps for a bath, winding the mantlepiece clock, pouring out Mr Jigglelump’s biscuits.

I lay on the sofa, nibbling a digestive, imaging Ronnie staring down his cue in the moment before a powerful shot.

Then I climbed inside the idea and everything eased to a more manageable pace.  

I walked down the garden path and saw the precise movement of the Cabbage White’s wings; the random motion, the rotation of the thorax.

Beyond the privet, acres of tarmac unfolding from kerb to kerb, double yellow lines unspooling to the bottom of the street.

There was the serene dance of the traffic lights, a deep thump, my graceful trajectory, a wide-angle view of the clouds. Then the low slur of a siren rolling towards me, like the cue ball off the baulk cushion coming for the pink.


First published by Reflex Fiction on 8 January 2021.

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