Monday, 2 May 2016
May Shorts 2016/02
Bernie flopped onto the bed and stared up at the crack in the ceiling. “What made you choose Cornwall?”
“There was a teaching position available.” Melanie copied her new friend, surprised at the firmness of the mattress, although the metal springs of the frame beneath squeaked. She tried to imagine having sex on them and fought back a snort of laughter.
“Nothing. Just the noisy springs.”
“ They're in a right state. Better watch who you bring back at night. You'll have Da listening at the door.”
“Gawd, I hope not. That's be embarrassing.”
“Especially when he charges you double rent for having a guest.”
“He wouldn't, would he?” Mel stared at the crack above them. It was reminiscent of the march of the Nile across the Egyptian plain, or the oscilloscope display gain of a capacitor relay discharging.
“He would. Thinks he's the Lord Mayor o' London, sometimes, the way he makes up rules. He'd probably blame you for keeping him up, too.”
“I'd have something to say about that.”
“You ever been to Cornwall before? It's not exactly known for its nightlife, you know. Not like where you come from.”
“I came here on holiday once.” She rolled onto her stomach, her nose an inch away from the pink roses of the nylon eiderdown. “Well, not here, exactly. Penzance. We were doing the play at college and got an all-expenses trip to soak in the feel of the coast. Some of us, me included, hadn't even seen the sea before, never mind Cornwall. We stayed in a scout hut with no lav and had to either risk stumbling past the boy's tents in the night or pee in a pail.”
“I ain't never travelled.” Bernie sat up, and adjusted the waistband of his trousers. “Da took me to Newquay once, when I was little. All them big aeroplanes going all over the world. I want to go all over the world someday, not remain here like some sad bumpkin.”
“I'm sure you will of you put your mind to it.”
“I wouldn't be able to raise the money in a thousand years.”
“Maybe you won't have to.” Mel turned her head to view the profile of her new friend. Bernie had an uncharacteristic softness around the face, and not even a trace of stubble. Elfin, her mam would have said. A Peter Pan to her Tinkerbell.