@MattAbbottPoet

@MattAbbottPoet
Image © Copyright Amy Charles Media 2014

13 Apr 2015

Flat 3C - Say You'll Be There


She'd prepared a pop filled playlist
so they could walk hand in glove:
avoiding life's congestion,
through the back streets of nostalgia.

Four years, and a hundred miles;
dual decades as distant strangers.
But still they manage to reminisce
on childhood's shared and sacred pleasures.

She remembers dancing
to 'Don't Stop' by S Club 7,
in the playing fields at St. Peter's
with Zoƫ's bouncing ginger perm.
He remembers rapping
to 'Re-Rewind' by Artful Dodger,
on the old abandoned railway track,
the final day of term.

It took 2 hours and 20 minutes,
but it was perfect.
When she finished,
with the twilight of the afternoon to spare,
she contemplated filling out the label with a gel pen.
It's his 29th birthday
which he's dreaded now for weeks,
but what better form of antidote,
than travelling back through time...?

She skipped her tea;
too nervous to eat.
He'd said he'd be here at 7.
She knew it'd be closer to half past,
but at 6:15, she settled.
His decision now defining
her defiance or delusion.

She passed the time with cigarettes
and neatly stacked the crap cassettes
and watched the clock
and made a drink
and tried to sip it on the brink
and checked her texts
then checked again
then downed her drink
and checked again
then tried to ring
but it rang right through
then tried again
but it didn't ring once.

"Welcome to the O2 messaging service for
07525364927."

She lingers by the mirror;
leaves the voicemail sat recording.
Mascara halted in its tracks,
at 25 past 9.
Protected cheeks bereft of freckles,
and hair no longer drawn by Disney,
but even with that wide eyed wonder,
"where on God's earth is he?!"

Twenty years of wisdom,
that should be there to guide her,
merely arrive in hindsight,
whilst wounds are getting wider.

The bedroom waits with baited breath.
Her feet get cold,
so she rummages for socks.
A car pulls up:
through naivety
comes nervous nausea,
but it's only Babs from 13B
in her taxi back from bingo.
Alone:
well versed, well masked,
well past her sell-by date,
and well past caring.

As she plays the final song,
for the fifth time in a row,
she aches to tiptoe down the hall
and crawl between her parents.
Longs for worries such as:

Mrs Roberts set us homework and I haven't done it,
and last time she made me stand up in the middle of assembly.
Why does my dad always pick me up from parties
before we've had the jelly and ice cream?
And how come my school uniform is plain and maroon,
whilst the other kids' are poster red, with the school's name embroidered?

Sink beneath the duvet,
make a castle from the pillows,
as the Spice Girls sing a serenade
that resonates quite brutally.

A tentative request, that echoes through a lifetime:
faithfully borrowed from Now! 36 (side 1, track 1).

Say you'll be there...
Say you'll be there...
Say you'll be there...