annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Day 223

Two Bella bits from today's writing group. The first was in response to a photo of a biro and a key - I'd thought it was going to be Bella writing about her childhood, but it went off in a different direction and I let it.

Bella stopped writing and put down the biro. The key was on the table – the key to Naomi’s flat. She’d gone to visit her mum and had asked Bella to feed her fish. Bella didn’t want to. Naomi had been gone three days now – maybe the fish were dead already. Bella couldn’t imagine what these fish would look like – she kept visualising a big wriggly cartoon goldfish jumping out of a round glass bowl, with a big grin on its stupid face. She didn’t know if she’d dreamed this or seen it in a film but every time she thought of going to feed the fish she got distracted by trying to remember the film. If there had been a film. Fancy giving her the key, expecting her to do things.
She was scared to go in there. She felt if she did she’d have to try on Naomi’s clothes, lie on her bed, maybe get in her bed. Try out being Naomi, living a Naomi-shaped life. Probably put on some of her make up, one of her cute little hats. The very thought made her panic – why couldn’t she just feed the fucking fish and come back out again?
What if it was a huge tank of exotic marine fish who’d started eating each other in despair after three days without food? What if they were all floating on the surface – she had a vague childhood memory of a dead goldfish floating in its tank, but what if there were masses of them, a whole layer of them?

For this second one we were given the first sentence. Sometimes I know I'm twisting it to get a Bella bit but that's when nothing else comes.

“The end though, was a long way off!” What was that? The woman’s voice was loud, laughing, echoing round the basement yard, bouncing off the walls. Bella paused, waiting to hear the rest of the story – the end of what? What was she talking about?
“If it’s not all right, it’s not the end!... I know, I told him, but he just wants to be miserable, so I’ve come out” She was up there at street level, leaning on the railings, smoking a fag, flicking her ash down into Bella’s yard, laughing a loud, humourless, raucous laugh that made Bella’s toes curl. She shrank back against the wall, holding the plastic, Tesco carrier bag with the two dead fish loosely by her side.
The tank had turned out to have goldfish, about fifteen of them, and two were floating deadly when Bella finally went in to feed them. She’d scooped them out and was going to bury them in the garden. The sight of them floating had made her remember the row about the dead one when she was a kid – her dad had flushed it down the loo and her mum had been incandescent with rage. Although her parents lived on the Costa del Sol and hadn’t been seen for several years, Bella still, without even noticing, hesitated to do anything that would set her mum off. Wasn’t worth it.

I've arrived at a really tired place - I fell asleep last night at ten, and am absolutely done in again today. Dermatology appointment at 8 in the morning - check-up on that pre-cancerous patch of stuff presumably.

Three things I am grateful for today are:
1. Lunch with my old friend SB who is a tonic, a breath of fresh air, a delight, a darling and generally wonderful. I am truly blessed to have had her in my life for almost fifty years.
2. The builders have finished, though the scaffolding won't come down till Monday. It can rain all it likes now - we have gutters. Yay.
3. Daughter and I made plans for Christmas round here. It's sad not to be able to go to M's but we can't unless they change the rules. It's meant to be groups of no more than six, unless it's a family of more than that who live together, and we're six on our own, without M and her family. Me, Bloke, Daughter, Son, Grandson, and grandson's girlfriend. We can have a good day just us. Bloke can be a real downer - he's not inclined to put any effort in to enjoy anything, but we're not going to let him bring us down. There will be a big dinner, a walk on the hills and some games. I might make the Christmas fruit cake tomorrow - it needs time to mature.


10:56 p.m. - 23.10.20


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