Chris R-1-141



Chris R-1-140.jpg Image by Christine Renney

It would shamelessly court
dance with controversy
fight in the face of adversity

If I could write a poem to last
it would be brave like Siegfried Sassoon
it wouldn’t lurk on the page but blaze

If I could write a poem to last
it would work for a wage
a lover demanding
expecting to be heard

If I could write a poem to last


Chris R-1-139 Image by Christine Renney

Fuller is waiting for Miranda to emerge from the office block where she works. He is pacing the street, directly opposite, glancing repeatedly up at the windows and across at the glass doors in front. He can’t be sure she is in there, after all she is to be married tomorrow, but Fuller reckons that Miranda, so orderly, so proper, will be working today and that, not until after five thirty, her desk tidied and all loose ends securely knotted will she set out in pursuit of her wedding day.
If he is right then Fuller will be able to say what he should have said long ago and, albeit belatedly, Miranda will at least know how he feels. And if he is wrong, and she is already home caught up in preparations for the big day then he must put it behind him once and for all and move on.
But Fuller isn’t ready to turn and walk away, not just yet, although it is almost six and the five thirty exodus, that initial rush of workers heading for home, has dwindled and the stragglers are now few and far between.
Is it really possible that Miranda may still push through those doors and how much longer does he intend to wait? But there she is and already she has spotted him and is crossing the road. It is too late, it isn’t too late.
‘I wanted to see you before tomorrow,’ he calls out to her, wanting to quickly break the ice, to be the first to speak. ‘I’m sorry, I know I have left it until the last minute but I wanted to see you, to talk to you and so, well, here I am.’
‘It’s okay,’ she reaches out and lightly touches his arm, ‘but I really don’t have very long. I’m late and there’s so much to do and I’ll be missed already but, okay, we could have a quick drink.’
‘The car’s just round the corner. Look, why don’t I drop you home and we could stop somewhere on the way?’
‘That would be great, thanks.’
He studies her and for a moment he is stalled,.
‘You look good,’ he manages to say at last, ‘you seem happy.’
Miranda smiles up at him.
‘Yes, I am.’
Silently, they walk together toward his car. He opens and holds the door for her, standing awkwardly as she settles in the passenger seat. When she giggles he is struck by just how ridiculous he must seem to her. He decides to drive her straight home, simply wish the best for tomorrow and make his excuses once again for not being able to attend. But heading out of town he is pulled in the opposite direction.
‘Where are we going?’ she asks.
‘I think there is a nice little pub out this way and it’s not much of a diversion.’
‘Oh,’ she leans back and stretches out yawning, ‘this is nice, I could so easily nod off.’
Fuller wracks his brain for something to say but any attempt at small talk will inevitably lead to tomorrow and he is keen to steer clear of there. Anyhow, Miranda doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. He wonders if she has doubts, if she is concerned about the future? Or is that, run ragged after all the preparations and it now so close, she just wishes it were over and that it is the future, their future, that matters, that counts.
Fleetingly he considers quizzing her, to delve a little deeper but ashamed with himself he quickly crushes the idea. His intention had been and should still be to tell her, to say it despite everything. Not to hatch some plot in order to win her, to try and steal her away. Fuller finds this very notion most unsettling. He grips the wheel and stares grimly through the screen. He is aware that Miranda is watching him and that she is amused. He glances across at her. She isn’t smirking but smiling and Fuller doesn’t find this reassuring and he concentrates again on the road ahead, on transporting them safely and smoothly.
Miranda has turned on her side.
‘I wish this was a sofa,’ she says, ‘and that I could really curl up.’
He tries to smile but feels the grimace forming.
‘You seem very tense.’
‘I suppose I am,’ Fuller replies.
‘I’m very flattered you know.’
For the first time he looks her squarely in the face and beyond her. In the fields, heat haze shimmers.
‘It’s going to be a glorious day tomorrow.’
‘I know.’ righting herself Miranda faces forward and, like this, in almost identical positions, they travel in silence.
All of a sudden Fuller realises that in no time at all he has managed to cover quite a distance. He should turn around and although he will still have the time it takes to get back he can’t help feeling that all hope is lost, that the moment has passed. Nevertheless he still forges onward and beside him Miranda seems content, unconcerned by just how far from home they have come. She settles back, making herself comfortable again.
‘Where we are we going?’
‘Nowhere, I’m just driving.’
‘How long do you think we could survive out here?’ she asks, ‘on the road I mean, keeping to the motorways, stopping at the service areas, eating in the restaurants, sleeping in motel room?’
‘I don’t know. Two, three months, possibly longer if we pooled our resources, used all of the money in our bank accounts and maxed the credit cards.’
‘It sounds tempting but my life is pretty well maxed out at the moment.’
‘And that’s good right?’
‘Oh yeah, of course it is but the idea of escaping for a spell, well I am tempted. It would be nice.’ She sighs and stares into space until, rummaging in her bag, she pulls out her phone and holds it up in front of her face.
‘Shall I switch it on?’ she asks.
‘I supposed you should.’
‘Yes, I suppose I should.’
‘Do you want to?’
‘I don’t know – what’s the alternative?’
‘Well, we could just keep driving, all night, until it is too late and then I’ll say it.’
‘No, you have to say it first and then I’ll decide.’


hijacked amygdala

Chris R-1-138.jpg Image by Christine Renney

It happened suddenly and without fanfare. Ben looked down at his hands and they were invisible. There had been no warning signs yet he knew instantly he was not going to be able to control this. His invisibility was not something he wilfully conjured, he could not bend and shape it to suit his own needs. It was not something he could switch on and off. No, this was simply how it was going to be.
Ben began to panic and was very aware of this, of the fact that he was panicking and that he was flailing uncontrollably. Ben looked down at his feet, or more accurately his shoes. Reaching with his right hand he grabbed hold of his left wrist and there it was, there he was.
Ben heaved a very audible sigh and he began to panic just a little less and he…

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Chris R-1-127 Image by Christine Renney

I have begun to recognise the others that I pass on my route. Their faces have become familiar; men and women, mostly making their way either to or from work. They are visitors. They stay for their shift and then leave, going back to their homes and families, to their lives beyond this place. But, just fleetingly before they disappear into their places of employment they and I collide.
I watch them as they trek toward the smaller units of the industrial estates, built in the Sixties and left to wither. I watch as they shuffle toward the larger factories and warehouses, those that have survived. They seem small and inadequate and I wonder how can they maintain these scarred and decrepit structures. How can so few of them possibly serve these ageing monoliths.