Towards the end of the beginning

I speak far more than she does, but she says so much more than I can ever know.

No one ever comes to this dilapidated, dated theme park with its pimps from the Estate Agents on every corner endorsed ‘rustic charm’ and ‘faded glory.’

Gwenno won’t mind, I don’t think. She’ll mention Miss Havisham or Estella or someone else she told me about or someone else she might have told me about that I would know about if I had spent as much time as her not doing what I do. What does she do? It’s too late to ask and too early to think, so I’ll offer her a drink.

This room hasn’t changed since I was last here, so she can’t have been back. Why doesn’t Gwenno give me a sign? Something simple, unmistakable, graspable, and tactile. I am treading water in concrete boots. Her eyes dart, so softly, so slowly, but have taken in everything halfway through the first sweep. I like the flowers on the table, they work, I picked them from next door’s garden, yesterday. Or the day before. I know some flowers, but I don’t know these simple, understated splashes of colour, in this Rhondda grey room. There is china and porcelain everywhere; I have never really looked at it.

“It’s not my house,” Fitz said to a vaguely-heard question about boarding or it might have been hoarding. It would have been too easy to explain it all and what it meant, but that could wait. She said that she was thirsty. Should I tell her, it might help if I see her again, she will probably want to know, but what there is to know I don’t know…if the wisest one is her or me for not knowing what we don’t know. I think I know that it is her, but I might not be completely sure.

“Shall I skin up or make the coffee first?” Fitz asked.

“You can multitask.”

“Can I? Are you sure?”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter much,”

“Ok, I’ll go and put the kettle on, in the kitchen, next door. You stay here and start building.” Fitz walked into the kitchen and ran the water from the single tap; musty, warm, and with a yellow tinge, even in winter. He waited ten seconds for the stream to run clear and opened a drawer to the left of the sink. It used to slide, but he had the knack. He did, but couldn’t be bothered and tugged hard on the handle, which broke and took the drawer front with it. He picked out a knife and put it by the sink, as he now filled the kettle, lit a match, turned the handle and put it on the stove. He waited and listened. Gwenno fingered the resin; it was about a quarter of an ounce (was that metric? She didn’t understand metric conversion), judging from the crumbled burning, it started out as a half-ounce. Fitz had burned only one side top and bottom. His tin lay on top of Boo Radley’s Kaleidoscope e.p. She could hear him singing from the kitchen as the steam rose and the sweet, burning toffee smell of the hash filled the space, dancing around her. “Every drop of blood that falls I had to share it with you all. Pain’s not pleasure it just hurts. I wept these tears into the dirt. Though I shared it with you all. Men like me have far to fall.” Gwenno knew the final line, but didn’t sing along; she ran through the door into the kitchen to see blood and steam and water and a knife as she instinctively grabbed the kettle and grabbed his arm. Everywhere liquid flew as she turned on the tap of cold, yellowing, tepid water and grabbed him by the other wrist. She didn’t know what she should do, but knew what had to be done. She couldn’t let go; if she did then he would, and then what? She grabbed his arm, stood on tiptoes and kissed him.


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