By Vikki Wakefield
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Extra info for All I Ever Wanted
At home with my mother on a Saturday night. ’ I ask, because I’m a romantic. She snorts. ’ ‘Warm-up stretches first,’ I tell her as she leaves. FOUR In the morning, Mum and the baby are gone. The eight o’clock train wakes me most Sundays, but usually I can slide back into sleep. I’m surprised that I’ve slept at all after climbing into bed with a churning stomach and a fizzing brain, like I had too many energy drinks. Fat blowflies butt against the kitchen window because Mum’s left the screen off and already the glass radiates heat.
I open the bathroom cabinet. Guilt makes my hands shake and my face burn, but I check inside. Toothpaste, floral deodorant, soap. Packets of paracetamol and a bottle of eucalyptus oil. I pick up a razor and inspect the bristles caught between the blades. Jordan’s? Maybe voodoo is the way to go. The hairs look silvery grey—definitely not his. I unscrew the cap on a bottle of aftershave but decide it’s not Jordan’s either. It smells spicy and kind of…old. I lift spare towels in the linen cabinet and slide my hand between the spaces.
I shout. The baby jumps and starts to cry. She warns me with a look. ‘Calm down. They were in a box. I thought you were finished with them. Anyway, what’s the point in reading something you’ve already read? You read them over and over until you’re cross-eyed. ’ As always, I’m torn between love and loathing. ’ ‘Well, they’re gone. ’ Those books are my maps. They show me that there is something else out there; they give me hope. They keep me from going crazy in this place. ’ Sometimes she just knows what’s in my head.