Pathways

Is to understand too much?
Analysing every nod, touch or word and harking to things untold?
The future unfolds, and it then hides.
Desires contort, no longer owned. Never left alone.
Words of honesty and wishes become swallowed inside coils tightly bound.
A pretty scarf sharply wound in rusty razor like precision, engineered through fear and superstition.
Honour and politeness confused with walking a mile in another’s shoes.
It would seem the path to follow is the one in which your own hand is held.
Unfettered.

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Washing Your Hands of It.

“Well! If I never talk to her again it’ll be too soon! Really! The cheek of her – I mean who does she think she is?”

Sitting on the toilet, in the cubicle on the left, I can hear everything . All the gossip comes out here and as I listen carefully; I wonder: do they really think that nobody can hear them?

The toilet on the other side flushes and the door bangs open and I hear the tapping of heels recede – another pair of unwashed hands slip away to infect the nation. Urgh. Disgusting really. After all it only takes a few moments to wash up. Silly, scummy girl.

The conversation next but one starts up again.

“I only said…”
“Oh I know!”
“…took it up all wrong…”
“…he can do better than …”
“Who are ya tellin?”
“So. Is he any good?”
“Beverly!”
“Go on! Tell me…. I won’t breathe a word. Cross my heart…”

Silence.
Go on! Tell her! I urge.

“Ok! But you can’t tell anyone! Not even Phil…”

A blast of music interrupts as the outer door is slammed open and the cacophonous clack of heels drowns out what I need to hear.

Blast it!

Someone hammers on my door sending blood pumping through my body, flooding my ears till they hurt and throb. Slowly and quietly I pull my feet up. They’ll think it’s an out of order loo; they always do.

My lungs ache as I slowly breath out into the rancid air. Good god these must be the worst toilets I’ve staked out. Toilet paper is a luxury as far as I can gather, and not one woman has washed her hands after using the facilities. Doesn’t bear thinking about. Anyway, with a bit of luck I won’t be here much longer.

The bevy of beauties have relieved themselves and hark! Is that a tap I hear running? They chatter nonsensically as they slick lipstick on, fluff hair and hoist their breasts up. Such fun! Then they’re gone in a flurry and not a moment too soon.

I crane closer to the thin partition, my forehead leaning on the grimy wood.

Say it!
Tell her!
Release me!

“He’s … Well, he’s not what I expected.”

oh?

“Like, it’s you know, I mean… We never have much time…”

Cue an embarrassed silence.

“Ah, yeah. Sure look it’s not like easy for ye. Anyways. We’d better go on back out before they send someone looking for us.”

Good girl! Get in, get out!

An uncomfortable pause and then

“You won’t say anything will ya? Promise!”
” o’course I won’t! Now would ya come on!”

They scurry out, one aware that she’s let her secret out, that she’s given the power away; and the other well aware of it. Lovely! That’s how it all starts.

I snap back the latch and as I wash my hands my black eyes stare back at me.
I’ve left payment already and that’s enough for now. Another hour of observation and I’ll be done and a thousand quid better off.

Two if he wants me to keep shit quiet.

All I have to do is watch and follow the tracks they leave.
And they always do.

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