Woman Man – An excerpt from my novel

It was like hearing the warning cry for a tidal wave, when he opened his beautiful mouth, and started forming the words. As she watched it flexing and opening and closing, in the low light of the lamp on their bedroom table, it was like watching the water pull back, away from the land, to reveal the large expanse of beige nothing. Like hearing on the radio that a disaster was on its way. This is a warning. It’s happening. Run. And in the hour afterwards, as the minutes passed, it was a fight to gain command of her quivering hands; to force breath in and out of her quivering lips, the spit stained gash across her pallid face. It was panic. Because, on the horizon, there was destruction, and it would drown her if she didn’t prepare. It was ending, it was over, they were done and grief was hunting her down. She staggered about their apartment through the deafening noise of shock and fumbled things into a bag. Ice was promised with the dawn and she wandered through the frosting blackness towards Adrienne’s flat. Emma waited at the locked gate until someone appeared, an African woman in an elaborate wig heaving a bag of cleaning products behind her, limply approaching the start of a 5am shift, expelling condensate breath into the pre-morning air. As the woman left, Emma caught the open gate, ascended the piss stained stairwell. She stumbled onto the balcony, steadying herself against the wall, feeling the roughness of the bricks with her limp right hand. She had brought the noise with her, or it had followed. By the time she reached the front door the finite inner strength that carried her two miles from the apartment to her friend’s flat had been spent. Her legs gave way and her hands lost their power. Instead of knocking, she dragged a beach towel from the bag and shrouded herself in it. She lay down on the mat and closed her eyes. When Adrienne opened the door to find her friend some hours later she was purple mouthed and glittering with the morning’s frozen dew.


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