As I worked my way into the heart of these stories, I realised just how experimental each is: occupying spaces rather than walking linear lines; shifting about the central theme of rumination; full of mood and sensorial responses. These stories dig around in the interior state, mining (to keep with the analogy) the terrain that must be explored when outer forces collide with the individual. A person in a place – as simple and complex as that may be – is always filled with important but normal stuff: the big and the small, the soft and the brutal. These stories are not so much about what happens to us as about what we go through when something does.
There was the feverishness of trying to piece together her actions. She could remember some things, like cornering the cashier at that little grocery store near her house and talking at her about aubergine pesto. She remembered the woman’s readiness to laugh at the word ‘aubergine’, at what she probably thought, initially, was a little comedy routine.
The vending machine was broken and had stolen my money. I tried pushing against it subtly and then not so subtly and still I was money-less and chocolate-less, and, worst of all, when I complained to my sister I was told to be quiet and have some respect.
‘Yeah I know, but I’m sad and drinking helps,’ he said, digging through the rubble on his desk – the unpaid bills, notes to his past self, a birthday card from his grandmother and useless silver coins – as he looked for his keys. ‘Are you coming with me or not?’
There was a neat click as May climbed each step of the maple staircase. She didn’t expect to find him on the rug below their bed, on his side, hands cupped into each other like he was sleeping. She sat on the bed above him, flipping off her cream shoes.