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I downed the gin and went home. I had a dream that night. I was back at home in my old bedroom, all grown-up and living there on my own. I had it decorated nice. Nice furniture, pricey stuff everywhere. And I was asleep in my dream. But then in the dream something woke me up. Somebody was throwing stones at the window. I opened the curtains and down below, waving and smiling up at me – it was our Mikey. He was still a kid, and had that canny smile of his, smeared all over his face. So real. I
sleep. It was too sticky to get under the covers but I had to put my head between the bed and the pillow like a sandwich with the bloody racket of traffic noise. Even birds twittered away in the tree outside. The sky never went out. And a man in the next room cough-coughing, hacks of snot like dog barks. I pictured myself lying inside the machine of the city and my arm started its slow wave. I knew something would happen. All that fuss and heat and madness – it scared the shit out of me. My arm
thought of science at school. I thought of maths. I couldn’t tell the difference between menstruation and protractors or compass. Big words like that just made me feel sad. I was at this girl’s house. She was a proper brainbox and I remember this one Christmas she got a chemistry set off her mam and dad. We used to try and make explosions and bad smells, and we soon used up all of the chemicals and shit. Nothing was left that stunk or fizzed, changed colour or set fire. We didn’t know what to do
Sitting on the chair, swinging her legs. Her hair full of cotters. Hissing and dirty. I could see her scabbed knees. She picked at them and put the salty flakes into her mouth and chewed on them. She laughed because she knew it was dirty. I knew that it was dirty. She was wearing that skirt, the one that stank. Mam refused to wash it more than once a week. Said it would teach me to go pissing myself. They gave me my own chair at school, a grey plastic one with my name written on in black pen.
during my last smear. My legs up in the ankle straps, thighs twitching, I was so scared. Speculum. Box of vaginal disposable specula. Clear jelly. — This is going to be cold. You feel the giant egg with the sharp point they put inside. Shaped like two hands together, a pair of lips. You hear the squeaks of bolts as they unscrew it, and it gets bigger, bigger inside. It’s never gentle. They whiz it around, cranking it up inside, and you’re gaping wide open with the wind blowing up your cervix.