rat’s blood on the lino
by chris quinlan
so there it was, there was no point walking around it and it wasn’t something you could just leave there, now was it? well, maybe you could.
i made my way around the mess to the stove, grabbed the kettle, went to the tap and filled it enough for one, maybe two cups, i lit a match and as the gas lit, the kettle landed with a mettalic thud on the stove.
i sat down and closed my eyes, i could hear the flame and the water stirring .... i opened my eyes ... the mess was still there, a red pool, a lifeless body.
..... so i closed my eyes again.
i thought of what i had to do today, clean out the spare room, in amongst “the rubble” was the box of clothes he’d left behind, i remember the red shirt that was on top of the pile, i remember picking it out for his birthday about five years ago, it was crimson red with a nice cut to it, i thought it would suit him, it was fifty-eight dollars and ninety-five cents... left me a little short for the kids trip to mcdonalds, but that was ok .... i saw him wear it two, maybe three times.
i took a spoonful of coffee and watched the granules fall into the cup as i slowly turned the spoon .... the mess was still there ... why did the colour of the blood have to match the colour of that fucking shirt? why am i thinking of this shirt?
...maybe it’s because that was the shirt he was wearing when he came home late, distracted ...
...... and smelling of someone else .....
... stupid really, isn’t it .... you’re doing really well, getting along with things, clearing a room out for the new boarder and then there’s something that looks like, is like, something that fucking cat dragged in ....
so you remember the colour, you even remember the smell of his sweat and that strange hint of something else ... and when i moved that box .... there it was ... the shirt he came home in .... the shirt he was wearing when he said he was leaving ....
.... so the whistling is starting to piss me off, i get up , move around to the stove and turn the kettle off, its all but boiled dry .... shit .... i slam it back on the stove .... i sit down again and look at the rat’s blood on the lino ..... sometimes cats have all the luck.