I am old-school English grammar taught, 11 plus passed, Grammar School educated. I had relatives who would correct my spoken grammar – “Sean and I” not “me and Sean”. It was to be said in a plummy accent (English posh) which made my life in the poor end of town unbearable.
My written grammar was scrutinised, essays were written based on my errors. I am sorry, American friends, but you really have no idea how high the bar was surrounded by copperplate handwriting books and old maiden Aunt teachers. Woe to me if I failed a spelling test – a little impromptu fun or used I’ve instead of the correct I have. Presents were given of Ronald Ridout’s grammar books, they thought, bless them, they were being hip.
I have the rules in my head and I break them, in fact I don’t just break them – I smash them into a thousand smithereens. I love to use prose as poetry, it has to move in a rhythmic dance, and if it doesn’t, it ain’t my dance, my song, my revolution and it gets hacked to pieces.
Grammar if it is broken, must be broken for a reason, (as above), or not at all.
A dear friend of mine had to write a report on a conference. Every sentence began – ‘And then I went’. It was dire, it was so bad I couldn’t resurrect it for her and made up the conference report based on hearsay and the brochure. She got her promotion based on that work and we have a favour based relationship – I proof read and edit without mercy for her , she grooms my dog. Win-win.
As an aside – it took my five goes at spelling hearsay, I don’t think I have ever written the word and for some reason I thought it was “heresay”, which spellchecker didn’t like, it preferred heresy! So maybe breaking the rules of grammar is grammatical heresy but I learned to spell a new word today!
She was crying.
Not pretty tears, red swollen eyes, her nose full of snot, running freely as the tears.
She sat staring out of the window, oblivious to the world going on outside. People were beginning to get up and out for the daily grind. Mr Boyson was having trouble starting his motorbike directly opposite, his cursing, slamming and banging going unheard or unseen. Martha and Martin the twins from number 23 were gabbing on at a hundred miles an hour as they swung their bags and shuffled through autumn leaves.
Doris sniffled and wiped snot on her sleeve, grabbing her handkerchief too late for the slug like trail on her clothes but she dried her eyes. “Well this will never do,” she exclaimed to herself and put the telegram back in its envelope and into her apron pocket.
“Clarence, I am putting on the kettle for tea. Are you coming down today, love?” She spoke up the stairs hoping her husband would hear her. She didn’t want to take a tray up today. In the kitchen she straightened the envelope and put it leaning against the salt cellar.
She drew the black out curtains in the parlour and put the gas masks away, hung up in the cloakroom, she wished this damn war would end before anyone else’s son was killed. She sobbed again, before shaking her head and turning to brew the tea.
He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. One beer was following nicely on from the other, sweet nectar for the soul. This was his daytime; nights he worked as a bouncer in a stripping joint. Locals came in, chatting, shooting the breeze. Tourists popped in, to see some real local colour, taking pictures, asking questions, the same questions. He answered them, the locals, the tourists, he chatted to them all, affably chilled.
She entered the bar because of a sudden downpour, sat next to him and ordered a beer. She hadn’t had a beer in years and it went down like water, she ordered another and started chatting to him. The weather, where she was from, what she was doing there – normal chitchat. All the time more beer was entering both their bodies.
At some point the two beer fuelled bodies turned to each other and sparked. They kissed.
The sun came out and she left, slightly buzzing from the interaction, shaking her head, clearing in the sunshine, she returned to the tour bus, she returned to her husband, she didn’t give him or the kiss another thought.
He sat at the bar, on the same stool he always sat on. He drank his beer, he chatted, but something or someone was haunting him. A normal person, a woman with no agenda, with a good life, a pastor’s wife had kissed him. Him, a has been, never been, what was it about her that niggled. No longer chilled, wtf, it was just a kiss.
But in his heart, in there it changed, he was changed, the beer tasted sour, the chat sounded flat. The locals, the tourists, he got up and left.
Not sure how, not sure why, he just knew it was time to change…
“It can be a lonely place,” Brian stirred his coffee as he spoke.
She said nothing. There was nothing to say. She knew how lonely it was, sitting in the middle of a family that didn’t want you. She hadn’t expected him to say it, he was a man. Men were supposed to be empty of such thoughts, logic was supposed to course through their veins, not neoemotions and empathetic waves.
Her mind drifted as she licked the swirl of steamed milk from her finger. Motivations for Brian’s concern were whirling through a check-list maelstrom; attraction – no, concern – yes, intervention – maybe.
Brian’s coffee was becoming a black vortex. Had he gone too far in saying that. What had he hoped to achieve. He didn’t fancy her, she was his wife’s best friend, she was the person you ran to when the kids got a rash before heading into the doctor, she was the one you rang to bring in the washing if it was raining. She was the one that rang you to pick up the kids because she was running late, or that needed a lump of meat because she forgot to go marketing. She was on the list of friends that we depended on as a couple. Why does she not speak he wondered?
Stephanie completed another circuit of froth and licked again, “Brian, to consider myself lonely within my matrimonial state, will not help any I don’t think. Yes it is true, with Dave playing away, it is lonely. This is not a new state for me though, as you know I was reared begrudgingly and oh bugger. Look I have to stay married, I have no income of my own, everything is in his name, including the kids and I feel safe in it. My safe might not be your normal, but it is mine. I have boundaries, don’t worry, I am not a punch bag as well as a doormat. And finally although I truly do appreciate your concern and Jill’s as well. You are good people. You are good people to me. Although I do like that you are concerned, please let’s not speak of this again. It is what it is. I am married therefore I am.”
“Sure Steph, no prob, just letting you know we are here for you. I am here for you. Jill’s indiscretions were a long time ago, forgiveness sought and received, but I remember at the time, the sheer loneliness of the partner at home,” Brian finished his confidence and his coffee, shoved his chair back and saluted a goodbye.
Stephanie drained her mocha and rose to leave as well.
If I was txtin den mi spellin an such wd b all ova de place. Prob rong place to do a gramer ting!
But it got me trawling in a lot of places with the help of Larry Blumen and ‘Against Me!’ from Florida
How Low Can …….. you Go?
The low ebb is descending
A rhyme from a pop song
Reverberates the background
It’s melodic chant daring her lower
Tiredness all around no respite
Sleep depravation increase the tome
No good news war sickness
No puppy dog tales only poverty
Take it to the chorus litany of woe
Shutters coming down
Closing up shop
Humanity good bye
Sign off gone for a while
I’ll be in bed
No white light
Judgement descends how long to stay
Am I ready to depart or interlude
Difficult decision in trance like mode
Get it wrong county homeward bound
Heaven can wait let’s breathe in