skeleton story

…running, running away, running toward. He ran mile upon mile, his mind in turmoil. There was no wall, physical or mental that stopped him. He ran on. He had within him the one piece of information, the vital snippet that would unravel the banking system, that would bring down the government, that would start a war between the two biggest nations, that would stop this civilisation in its tracks, that would bring a wave of anarchy that would go around the world.

He had no plan except to run, whichever way his mind turned he could see only destruction, he could only see annihilation and so he ran. As he came towards the cliff path he suddenly had a plan, he could not keep the information within, it would eat him up and as he looked at the gathering sunset he ploughed on. Running always running, he ran off the edge and screamed the secret to the sea as he plummeted to his death.

The banks opened the next day as they had every other day, the Government did its business and the earth continued turning on its axis. His heroic death went unnoticed.

skeleton story

The noise, I hate the noise in subway trains, I hate the squealing of rusty brakes on rusty tracks. Since glasnost there are no workers to grease the tracks. I hate the noise of youth, no longer in the groups of my youth, now tribes determined by drug use, music preferences and orientation, not forgetting wealth. I hate the noise of wealth most, when we were all communists, we all had the same.

Yes some of us had more same than the others, but we all had important jobs to do. My job, I was in charge of an internment camp on the outskirts of Moscow, to the east, in a forest near the town of Balashikha. I lived there, in Balashikha with my wife. She was in charge of a factory there. We had more floor space than the neighbours because of our jobs.

And yet here I am in the middle of Moscow, freezing because the heating doesn’t work and when it does work it leaks, and every one has pets now and the noise of them is incredible. I’d kill the lot, like in the old days, a prisoner who couldn’t be kowtowed, we just dropped them off the roof, job done.

There is too much softness now, too much America, too much noise. At my camp, in the forest, it was peaceful, there was no noise, there was no ….. life.

skeleton story

Twenty five roller-coaster years, how do we celebrate that, honey?”
“I dunno babe, maybe a trip, do we have any tokens?”

“Let me check. Wouldn’t you think we’d be above coupon clipping after all this time,” Jenny spoke as she rifled through the coupon drawer.

“Hey, don’t start with me! You know why I never took the promotions, I didn’t plan on any of the stuff that’s happened,” Phil countered becoming more defensive with each word.

“Honey, cool it, it was just a throw-away. I didn’t mean to hurt you. You’re right, and Philip Solomon, I would not change one thing about our life. Imagine if we wrote it down sometime?”

“Aha, that would be like ‘War and Peace’, there’s our two families for starters, then the kids. Nothing prepared us for having children with disabilities. We could write a book for each child and a three volume treatise on your mother!”

“Phil, don’t be mean, I have been healed of my past, I might still have the physical scars but the emotional ones are gone. What about a tv series like ‘Shameless’ for your siblings,”

“Ha, ha, ha, oh Jennifer Lynn Solomon you are going to be ticked some for that, C’m here!”

The two, should know betters, fooled around, jumping over the sofa and chairs, chasing each other whilst laughing at each other acting like newly weds instead of approaching fifty.

It was the range of colours that struck me, and, the centre, the centre was white. Well not white it was skin coloured and he was white so I call it white but really it was a pale insipid grey. A child, dirty, in a vest and shorts, hot, it was June 2007 and unlike this year it was a warm summer. It changed in July but this was June it was hot and there were colours.

I visualise the colours so easily, they are etched on my brain, there was a mottled purple, like the delicate fritillaria, looking so frail each year they bloom, it is always a wonder how they manage it. The was an Indian inkiness to the black-blue portion, almost like a borstal tattoo done with biro ink, or the female prisoners who hide the ink capsules in their arms to get a few days in the hospital or die trying. The red, like slates on an Italian villa in the mountains, terra cotta, with tones of weathering, of moss, of trapped dirt, of mistrals, and leaves. A colour I had never seen before imbued these former colours, this colour had the depth of lapis lazuli, with flashes of inky darkness, flecks of cream risotto rice, it reminded me of squid ink risotto I’d had one  evening in Rome at Da Sergio’s, not the food but the colour of my mouth after it – black, white, blues and lumpy bits. Fluorescent yellow and green encircled the white centre.

Polymer chained crisp packets, if one were to recreate this as a piece of modern art, would have to be scrunched up and placed under the skin. It was bumpy, lumpy and looked so very sore. The child, ran away, thinking trouble was brewing, that it was his fault.

I turned to my life partner, the man who took full time care of our family while I worked away.

“WTF is that? How did  he do it? What has he been up to?”

Very quietly, very carefully, the man I had built my adult life with, said,

“I keyed him”

That’s enough, isn’t it, that would wreck a person. Not in my life, that isn’t quite enough. I met with my eldest child, my head whirring, keyed, keyed, keyed. We met at the bus stop, it was raining, it had started raining in my heart with the word keyed.

I was meeting my son away from the house, away from the home I shared with my family, because I needed advice and was fast discovering I was not that strong independent woman I thought I was. I shared the story to my son, expecting him to say something calming, soothing, something I could work with. He said,

“Why  are you telling me this? I know this story. This is my life. He has been attacking me for five years.”

Now that is wrecked.

skeleton story

Fourteen and bolshie. What a combination for any teacher to deal with. That’s what me and my mates thought so we would hang out for most of the day in the top bogs, smoking.

Sometimes me and Milton would have enough of everyone else and we’d take ourselves off to our office. The bottom bogs had the cistern above the pan so to touch it you’d have to stand on the edges of the pan. Inside our office’s cistern was a bottle of vodka, me and Milt would take it in turns to swig.

Idyllic days and sweaty nights, that is how we spent our fifteenth year till Milt got pregnant, had an abortion and the whole world (entire town) blamed me.