Archives for roses

IGNORING GRAVITY #19

Upstairs they sat on the floor surrounded by the detritus of their mother’s married life. Lily sat cross-legged, her skirt arranged neatly around her knees, not speaking, twisting her hair again. To give her a little space, Rose concentrated on the striped handbag. She emptied it out onto the carpet: bus tickets, tissues, purse, lipstick. Rose doubted her father had opened the bag since it was returned by the hospice. Men of his age had a thing about handbags as if they were full of mysterious Women’s Things. She sniffed the blue leather purse hoping for a whiff of Youth Dew but smelt only dust and worn leather and the metallic tang of coins. Lily looked up. “Do you really not know Sylvie Watson?” Rose shook her head. “Don’t you read the gossip pages of your own newspaper?” “Hardly.” Rose sneaked a glance at Lily whose head was again bent over a box. “Lil, do you really think William will leave you if you don’t have a baby?” Lily sighed. “Yes. No. Not really… but he does get irritated with me. And when we do it, I can’t seem to think about anything else but babies. Afterwards, I lie in
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #18

Diana’s clothes hung in the wardrobe organised by colour. Rose took the turquoise Liberty-print floral blouse off its hanger, sniffed deeply. It smelled faintly of moth balls. She was surprised at the sudden swell of tears in her eyes. Lily patted her on the back. Rose admired her mother’s strong conviction about what colours suited her and wished she had that discipline: nothing red, brown or orange was given rail space. Three old-fashioned hat boxes balanced on top of a heavy brown suitcase; how typical of their mother to use hat boxes. Lily held up a pale pink sandal with a chunky crepe sole. “I hate throwing them out. Mum liked them so and there’s nothing wrong with them. Perhaps we should keep them.” “Why? They’re awful and they don’t fit us.” Comfortable was the first adjective that came to Rose’s mind, the pink was salmon. “I know,” replied Lily, “but still.” Her hand wavered for an instant, then she put the pink sandals beside her. “They’re Mum’s.” They continued sorting in silence. Rose watched a silent tear slide down Lily’s cheek and wondered why she wasn’t crying too. Getting upset won’t bring Mum back, she thought. I can help Dad
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #17

Rose At Sunday lunch, Rose had to try hard not to think about her mother. Not when she sat at the table next to her mother’s empty chair, not when Lily grilled only three lamb chops not four, nor when she add a sprig of rosemary to the roasting potatoes as her mother had always done. After their mother died, Lily suggested they cook a proper Sunday lunch every week for their Dad so it wouldn’t matter if he ate fish and chips the other six days.  And so that’s what they did. “Right, if we’re going to sort out Mum’s cupboards we’d better make a start.” Rose had been dreading this, invading her mother’s privacy. She hated the idea of anyone searching through her own things. “Come on,” she said to Lily. They were searching the kitchen cupboards for bin bags when their Dad John popped his head around the door. “Just popping to the allotment. I promised Ron I’d help paint his shed. It’s a messy job and it’ll dry nicely on a fine afternoon like this. You’ll get on quicker without me here. Here you are Pumpkin.” He pushed a piece of paper towards Rose. “This is
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #16

Lily Lily planned to wake before William on Saturday morning, stroke him gently till his eyes opened in that crinkly way she loved, then make love to him the way he liked best but which she hated. She hated it because she couldn’t see his face. But afterwards, when he was relaxed and loving her for her unselfishness, she would introduce the subject of babies. Instead, she awoke to the sound of William swearing in the en-suite because brown water was coming out of the taps and he couldn’t have a shower before setting off for the rugby game. The alarm clock hadn’t gone off and somehow it was her fault. It wasn’t a good start. Following him into the kitchen, she hovered as he stood in front of the fridge. He turned round and bumped straight into her. “Jesus, Lily. Don’t creep up on me.” “I’m not.” She flicked the switch of the kettle and danced around him to the mug tree. “Want one darling? And some toast?” She kept her voice light, determined not to let his grumpiness drag her down. She loved him dearly but he was a bear in the morning. She sank into the rocking
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #15

Rose didn’t know the disciplinary routine, had never been in trouble, and was mortified at Sam’s assumption that she had been. How exactly would Sam phrase her insult on the disciplinary form? ‘She used foul language and questioned my ability to satisfy my wife.’  ‘She challenged my authority and ridiculed me in front of my entire editorial team.’ ‘She insulted my capability as a man.’  ‘She said… penis.’ But I didn’t, she almost said aloud. No, she’d just have to wait to read the form to find out. And that’s when she realised this would be on her personnel file forever. Inappropriate language. Insulting her manager. Things you shouldn’t do, things Rose never imagined she would do. People who didn’t know her might read this and think this was the type of person she was, they might make judgements based on these accusations. She felt ashamed and yes, frightened, frightened she might lose her job. No matter how foul Sam was, no matter how much she was tempted to, she must never insult him again. Even if it meant lying to his face. “What are you still standing here for? Get out.” Rose got out. “And case studies, Rosemary,” Sam shouted
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #14

“Ms Haldane. My office. Now.” Sam didn’t look at her. Frank shrugged at her sympathetically as everyone else trailed behind Sam out of the meeting room. Rose hesitated, alone amongst a sea of scattered chairs, paper snowballs and abandoned coffee cups. She glanced towards the ceiling and was thankful her mother was not around to hear her language. She would have been appalled, then she would have asked Rose why she was still working at the Herald if she hated it so much. On the way back to her desk she heard raised voices in Sam’s office. May was face-to-face with him, looking down from her superior height, he was shuffling backwards as if he dare not turn his back. You’d have thought it was May’s office, not his. When he spun around he saw Rose standing outside the door, his face was blazing as if doused in shiraz. “Rosie, I said now and I meant now. Get your arse in here.” Rose put her hands in her pockets, dug her nails into her palms, and walked towards him, trying not to gag on the stench of stale cigarette smoke from his misshapen green tweed jacket. She passed May on
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #12

“Just my stuff. Some magazines and a jumper, the red one you used to wear, the one you shrunk in the wash, remember? You know, the one that makes your tits look like melons.” Rose crossed her arms across her chest. Rose crossed her arms across her chest. She hated that James could still get to her like this. I do not like him, I do not like him, she chanted to herself. “You can keep the jumper, if you like, as long as I can watch you take it off.” He reached out and brushed his fingers along her arm. The hairs on her arm stood to attention. She took a step back. “Don’t touch me.” “You always liked it…” “Well I don’t now.” She walked straight to the hall cupboard and took out the cardboard box in which she had crammed his stuff. An insidious creep of his possessions had threatened to take over her flat. It was as if he’d decided to move into her place CD by CD, tube of toothpaste by bottle of shampoo, but Rose had quickly wised up to this tactic having tried it herself years previously on a boyfriend she thought she
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #11

Rose bought the first-floor one bed flat in Monument Road, Wimbledon, just along the road from the All-England Tennis Club, when she got her first byline. Ten years later she still lived a happy solo existence. It was a million miles from Lily and William’s four-bedroom house [one bedroom for them and one for each planned child], fifty foot garden [ready for a tree house] and attic [big enough for a train set]. Lily’s neighbours were authors, doctors and lawyers. Rose’s neighbours were Australians in flip-flops and Reggie the Big Issue seller who she suspected lived in the alleyway between the tube station and the fish and chip shop. In the beginning, both mortgage and flat had been unknown quantities, huge and intimidating. Now the square footage of the flat had shrunk out of proportion to her increasing possessions. She longed for a spare bedroom, allocated parking, a back door with a cat-flap for Brad and a garden for him to patrol. The flat downstairs was silent. The previous tenant had been a hard rock fan with a very good quality sound system. She breathed-in the quiet. In her tiny hallway, the red eye of her answerphone blinked. Four messages:
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #10

Rose It took her all afternoon to test various eyecare products and write 1000 words on “Eye strain and how to avoid it’. Thankfully Sam accepted it without demur. Another Sixer. She longed to be at home, cheese on toast, Brad, perhaps a glass of wine. “Isn’t anyone here?” The voice sounded weary. Rose peered around her computer screen and looked straight at May Magdalene, the Herald’s managing editor, and definitely someone to be avoided if you wanted to get away before midnight. May was revolving on the spot as she looked around the sea of empty desks. Rose ducked and immediately felt nine years old again, attempting to avoid the attention of Duckie the maths teacher – Mr Duckworth, who did look rather like a duck – when he wanted an answer to 1,783 ÷ 21. “Ah, Rose, I suppose the rest have sneaked off early. Well,” May looked down at Rose, “you’ll do. Read these, will you.” Rose sat up straight, clenching her lips together to trap the “No!” that crunched between her tongue and her teeth. Damn, the new series of The Killing started tonight. She reached with one hand for the pile of page proofs which
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

IGNORING GRAVITY #9

Lily Lily put the jars of marmalade and Marmite back in the fridge, then swallowed her daily folic acid and zinc tablets with the last mouthful of lemon and ginger tea, rinsed the mug and set it to drain. It was her favourite mug, bone china with the Japanese kanji for ‘peace’ picked out in chains of daisies, lupins, bluebells and buttercups. Not as traditional Japanese as peonies or chrysanthemums, but she loved it all the same. William gave it to her soon after they met. The only way she knew what the kanji meant was because it was explained on the price ticket which William had forgotten to remove. Wasn’t fate wonderful? They’d sat next to each other on the first night of ‘An Introduction to Japanese’ at the local adult education college. By the time Lily dropped her mug in the kitchen sink and chipped it, she’d decided Japanese wasn’t for her. The only reason she continued going to class was William. She’d originally enrolled because she’d seen Lost in Translation. William’s motivation for enrolment, he announced during student introductions at the first class, was promotion at work. William, tall and earnest, his neck a little turkey-like in
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Categories: Book Love and My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.