MR WAYNE BOBBIT
BY HANNAH TEASDALE
It is another damp night. Isolation and frustration gnaw at the space where your stomach ends and your lungs begin. Inhaling, the buckle of your jeans pluck at the swell of belly hair. Regret at the passing by of degenerative months of self-indulgence is quickly replaced by apportioning blame. The breath falls out of you again; torrential outpour. Rubber blades frantically swipe across the windscreen as the traffic dissolves in to a liquid mirror over the tarmac. Your plans drown with them.
The door of the late-club swings open in the wind; smoke hanging from the spotlights and clinging to the cleavage of swaths of female faces – pale skin and disappointed mouths. Whisky – short and straight at the only free stool at the bar. And four more until the young pairs of eyes feel more like magnets, than knives. You allow them to take your loose change and last few cigarettes in return for the echo of a lingering hand on your heavy thigh.
The engine refuses to turn so you wade back through the highway and then fall next to her, drenched in discontent. She shrugs your desire and feigns ignorance in her dreams. You cannot go unnoticed and a while passes through white noise. You know she used to love you and you need her to feel how much you still do. She just needs reminding. You feel her tears on the back of your hand but there is nothing you can do now but hope that she has remembered how things used to be.
There is more time, time that passes through you in stomach-churning waves. The room is hot like she has left a thousand kettles to boil in the corner of the room. And then there is a coldness across the bones of your pelvis and she is standing beside you and there are hundreds of words between you but you cannot hear them above the screaming. She turns to run and doors slam all around you as she leaves you to drain away from yourself. And then, after the slamming is over and the coldness has turned to fire, they come and tear through wooden panels and wrap you tightly in a crisp new beginning.
BY HANNAH TEASDALE
It is late July. A thunderstorm breaks the suffocating Virginian humidity; breathing space at last. Drivers stop dead in their tracks, cocooned in tin shelters, under liquid fire. You watch from the open window and offer your palms towards the blackened skies, washing your hands of their filthy day. Steam rises from the smouldering pavement below.
You go to bed alone, before midnight. A bedside lamp splays beams of light above your bed – illuminating the pearly strands of a spider’s web framing your breathless wedding day. You drift to sleep as the coffee-stained pages of Haispungo close around your fingers.
Then you wake; his breath at the back of your neck, putrid from dimly-lit hours drenched in Jack Daniels and Marlboro Reds. You feel him hard against you pushing himself in to the crease of your buttocks. You turn on to your clenched belly and bury your face in to the pillow; an endeavour to find some distance from the damp contours of his swollen frame. His bulging blue eyes snake-like in their sockets, his skin pale and clammy; he stinks of perfume not yours. He says he’s been out – drunk, strippers, sluts, bitches, whores, drunk… He needs you, his own filthy cunt and he knows you to understand. He catches your wrists and fifteen knuckles knot above your head.
Later, you stand alone. You take a blade from the dim light of the refrigerator and slide your thumb across the gleaming steel. Memories come back to you – refracted – those lonely nights of agony and shame, of sometimes, the quiet teasing of his permission – the gentle touch of your own hand – until inadequacy took possession and jealousy forced control. But now he lies; satisfied and unaware of your cold hands – flaccid, spent and impotent, until you allow him to become what he deserves.
As the unforgivable spills to every corner of the bed, you take your piece of him with you through the twilight mist. From the open window you thrust him to the blurring hedgerows below and offering your palms to the skies once more, you pray for the rains to come again and wash you of him one more time. But now the air is still and silent as it clings around your blood-stained skin.
Hannah Teasdale was born and raised in Birmingham where she first began writing ‘her brutal truth’. She now lives in Bath where she raises her 6 children – but still always with a pen in her hand. Hannah has had plays produced for theatre and numerous short stories published in literary magazines. She performs her poetry the length and breadth of the UK and can be found in the spoken word tents at major festivals. She facilitates poetry workshops for adults and is currently working on a spoken word production showcasing at fringe events. She has two poetry collections published, ‘Fingerprints’ Poetry Space 2013 and ‘Laid Bare’ Burning Eye Books, 2016
*Photo courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*