My happiest memories…. no, let me correct myself… in all my serene memories of her, she is sleeping. I can’t think of the sex or the laughter or the intense verbal and physical debates and arguments without smiling, but also feeling the fight or flight adrenaline shot into my veins. I knew she always carried blades, school compasses, even unarmed her nails could strip a man down to his lungs. She would strip the skin and flesh like it was Christmas, and suck on his ribcage like so many candy cigarettes, until the bones went soft and were chewed and devoured.
She always curled up like a foetus, snoring gently through a hay-fevered nose, her top lip protruding into a pout, with dark vertical scratches on her exposed arms. Squint and she was a tiger, snoozing after the hunt in the cool branches of a tall tree. Sometimes I would nestle in with her, sliding myself into the arch of her torso. An arm, bent at the elbow, would lock me tight, squeezing me like a set of bagpipes as she breathed and dreamed against the back of my neck, snorting, whistling and exhaling. The hairs on my neck would alight to receive her, my spine would melt against the open rumour of her lips. She always smelled of damp earth and hot iron, an aroma chemically designed to drive me into a frenzy. But I couldn’t move. I was locked, and content, and (for the time being) safe. Some evenings, when it all became too much, I’d gently snake my jeans down and jack off onto the dusty floor.
She once told me; I only ever sleep well here. We sat with our backs against a flaking brown girder, supporting what was left of the ruined factory’s roof. In this summer’s heat, she’d taken to stripping naked, releasing her unique aroma into a dead place of grey concrete, green glass and the richness of decomposing iron. Her back and shoulder blades were a sickly citrus colour from pressing her slashed flesh against the rust, brown streaks weeping with infection. We’d drink and smoke and talk and fight from sunrise to sunset, in between the periodic patrols from a fat fuck security guard who was only too eager to climb back into his van and wank himself empty on the young and the hopeless in his dreadful magazines. After six he’d disappear, and we’d be left with the echoes. As June bled into July and then August, we learned to ignore the desperate cries of the building, learned how our voices cannoned around this empty industrial shell, searching for life, clambering around our voices like frostbitten hands around a bonfire. We knew every window, every steel beam, every pathetic weed trying to tough it out amidst the dust and the asbestos of a terminally cancerous temple.
When the sun died, if she was still awake, I’d ask her to go home. Then I’d beg, and plead, and finally I’d grab a lank limb and try to drag her naked corpse into what was left of that sinking deep orange. She never took it. Finding a dark spot in a bricked up corner, away from the voyeuristic glare of the Moon, she curled up, waiting for her resurrection.
I remember this now, fondly. As it happens, I have tears in my eyes. I have been transported back in time because of a local newspaper article pushed into my fingers, by a cunt with a mouth slit ugly and dribbling with fetid liquids, who is laughing about this mad bitch that I have to read about. This Mad Bitch, whom I knew twenty years ago, every day, walks into the shiny and brand new supermarket built on the site of the old factory, and curls into a ball, to sleep amidst the canned goods and confused looks of the guilty and the gutless. I shove the newspaper into his chest and run to the staff toilets. Amid the desperate sighs of a young man looking at pornography on his phone, and the gruntings of an old man with the beginnings of prostate cancer, it takes me a few minutes to dry my tears…. but decades to stop them flowing again.