The Year of Different Class

How many rooms? Three, if you discount the “hall”. It took three train journeys to get there and one to get out. It took ten years to figure it out. No matter how long it was catless, it still smelled of them. That front room where the gull walked in one day off the street before the RSPCA man came and took it away. On that awful rug, alone and living a sham, I would lye, eyes fixed on the patterns of damp on the ceiling. That year, it was Dummy, Maxinquay and Different Class. I lay, feigning sleep, and dreaming of a very different life. They were all there, those escape routes of various names and trajectories: Northern Ireland, Denver, London, Shetland, California. In the end it was just one train – but that was for later. A Different Class. Pulled apart and staring at those damned damp patterns on the ceiling, and wondering where I would be when my life started for real. We all knew there was a change coming, we all knew the future lay north, and there laid on a terrible rug on a floor of a cat stinking flat of dubious repute in Leith, I figured I’d wait for that future to just sail on in. Well, before it all changed. Before we all began constructing characters to live within. Before we learned to smile – just like that. I never did figure out why that gull chose that flat to wander into. If I believed in signs. But you know that isn’t going to happen. The patterns formed into something each time I looked. A face. Her face. Yes, always hers. And I wondered why you never walked in… why you never seemed too bothered by the sadness in my eyes… in the nights I came in late… in our life.  And then I saw the train. The one which took me away from it all. Lights coming at me down the tunnel. Yes. There were three rooms in that flat. Just three.

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