I’m sitting in my room listening to the radio. It’s some guy speaking in Arabic then playing tracks that make me want to belly dance. And, because no one’s here, I even try a little shake in front of the mirror. My brown cardigan waves and claps together at my waist.
There’s not much to do when you don’t have a job. It’s only been a day, but I can’t think what to do. Yet I still seem so busy. I woke and walked around the house for a while. Listening to the radio in a foreign language calms me. Like there’s someone talking to me and I don’t have to pay attention – I can just relax and look around.
I wish I could dance. I was in a bar once and a girl grabbed my face. She was going to kiss me. I think, anyway. I didn’t know her name, hadn’t said hi to her before. Then just as I think she was going to kiss me, a samba song came on and she said let’s samba! And that was my weak point. I stepped all over her feet, and couldn’t even do it when she tried to teach me. And so she never kissed me and I never got her name. I just pretended I had to go somewhere and then walked to the toilet. And I didn’t have to go to the toilet so I just stood in the cubicle and tried a little shuffle. But I just can’t samba.
This morning I went for a run. I watched a boxing film last night and my feet twitched for hours before I could sleep and I dreamt of being a champion. Like Rocky, or someone. I was fit and lean, and ate 12 weatbix – more than the cricket guys. So when I woke early, I stole Max’s shoes and tried to run up the road. I’m a shell of my former self, I realise now. It was cold and I felt like some Russian running into the wilderness – my breath coiling up in mist. I would have looked good like that – all kitted up, sporty like, stretching my arms behind my head in the cold morning.
There’s something romantic about the morning. The early morning, I mean. It reminds me of being at airports, but not going anywhere. Or fishing trips and my Dad shaking me awake – that it was time to get in the boat, that the flatheads wouldn’t wait and we had to be quiet not to let them know we were coming. It was about paitence, fishing, not pulling the rod up until the fish had finished its nibbles and returned with its knife and fork for the big bite. That’s what mornings remind me of.
When I started running, my jaw quickly ached from breathing heavy and my ankles felt splintered before I even made it to the park. There was an old lady leaning on a bus stop sign, weezing near death. She looked at me, breathless, like she pitied my growing old before my time. Why did I grow old before my time?