Last week we learned that Trudy keeps a plastic container of small people on her desk.
Perhaps it was the strong coffee Trudy usually drank in the mornings. Perhaps it was the solitude… but these mornings she spent with her little collection of soft people – well they were not as whimsical and charming as you might think. There had been a couple of deaths, limbs lost, pestilence spread – only the odd picnic or birthday party went right.
They tended to behave like children really – she appreciated the irony of this. When one person wanted something, someone else would want it too.
This was how her children behaved and they were primary age. How well she knew that it never did any good to highlight their irrational behaviour. Besides, she envied her own children the liberty to push themselves away from the kitchen table screaming “I DON’T LIKE IT!” and spitting their perfectly nice dinner on the floor. Moreover, she thoroughly enjoyed the complicated adult version of the same thing. She wondered when that liberty had died in herself.
It would occasionally happen that one of her small people might try to keep themselves to themselves – which I’m afraid Trudy found very provocative.
There was a Mum from Stroud who thought of herself as a “worker” who led an “honest life” and was forever simply trying to earn enough to keep her kids (two children, two fathers Trudy was sure) clothed and clean.
It’s fair to say that Trudy felt undermined by this determination to “make the best”, and so it was that this Mum was not unused to sustaining small injuries. A chronic back condition, a slip on the tube platform at rush hour – Trudy’s way of keeping the woman busy. On her way to work, she might find herself talking to the strange, old, stained guy, rather than hurrying by. The stained guy might turn out to have a knife or be her ex’s Father, or they might just fuck in a doorway quickly before this Honest Mum hurried on to the office/ shelter/ children’s daycare centre. Anything could happen.
The Mum was, as a result, quite a tense woman though she hid it well from the children. Why, once she even successfully managed to terminate an unwanted pregnancy on her own. It was very early stages but still, Trudy admired her resourcefulness and couldn’t help but wonder what her limits might be.
Then there was a lovely younger man in the container whom she liked very much. He wore a suit and carried himself nicely, but what caught her eye was the fact that he drank at breakfast and had a syringe hanging out of the end of his jacket sleeve. There it was, knocking against his Ted Baker cufflink. He also had a liver condition – Trudy had recently given it a little shading with her sharp pencil – she wondered when and how he might realise. Perhaps these two should get stuck in the same lift, she wondered.
Every day was different. That was the fun thing. …to be continued