She Doesn’t Live Here by Roberta Lawson

.
2001

The trees on these street are magnificent. Young families with dogs and prams walk happily down it. Here – number 77 – the house she almost bought.

The rooms are large and airy. Her loom glorious in the sitting room. The overgrown garden. In her first year here, her business prospers. She acquires a boyfriend. Giddy dates, leading into a settled life. So much love. Friday night take-aways from the Indian restaurant on the corner. Saturday morning sex. Saturday afternoon Scrabble games and cinema trips. Friends laughter around the dining room table. A fat contented cat. Sunday brunches in the pub opposite. Autumn-leaf stomping in the woods down the road. The deer, the blackbirds, the quiet burial space. Sunshine picnics in the Summer, skimming stones in the river.

2011

The trees on this street are barren. Families hurry down it, huddled over prams.

Rising damp stealthily climbing the large airy rooms. Her loom neglected in the corner. The recession hit her business hard, her boyfriend’s harder. Her worries hit the relationship harder still. His drinking didn’t help. Friday night anger. Saturday morning failed attempts at reconciliation. Saturday afternoon stagnation. Quiet around the dining room table. Sunday mornings watching the football in the pub, and staring into their drinks.

Her boyfriend’s car backing away, a fat cat in the backseat.

There’s the woods down the road. The thick green trees, the lazy river. There are the deer, the blackbirds, the burial space. There’s her tombstone.

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8 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

8 responses to “She Doesn’t Live Here by Roberta Lawson

  1. Really like the ‘parallel of opposites’ in the structure of this. Very nice. Did he kill her, or am I misreading that?

  2. The parallel scenes contrasted well. The ending was inevitable. Poor girl!

    Happy Halloween!

  3. Roberta

    Thank you, Ganymeder and Al. And Happy Halloween (Samhain!) back to you.

    Al – what happened to her is open to interpretation!

  4. Love this, really wonderful story–

  5. Really like those instances, events and details that punctuated the story and establish the characters and the passage of time. Nicely done, Roberta.

  6. Like others have mentioned, I really like the parallelism going on here. The ending gave me chills. Peace…

  7. Pingback: Week #24 – Tombstones « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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