9 Aug

AN ACE OR TWO

anime boys tennis photo: Akutsu Jin - Render Akutsu-Render.png

“This’ll be my last Sunday,” called David as he served an ace towards Wiggy Smith, his partner, who ducked and swivelled and couldn’t get any racquet on it.

“Good one,” called Wiggy, grudgingly admiring his friend.

David and Paula, and Wiggy, were at the tennis courts at the rec, it being a fine Sunday and therefore traditional, and Paula was waiting for her turn as the lads battled it out – and waiting for Simone, her partner, who hadn’t turned up yet.

Paula froze at David’s words about his last Sunday.

Then she ran towards him where he was bending and picking his balls up, fumbling for one that somehow had found itself the other side of the wire netting perimeter.

“What did you say?” she asked, a sudden tremble in her voice.

“This’ll be my last Sunday,” repeated David. “You know, of course: I have told you – lots of times.”

“I know you’re going to Uni – but what’s that got to do with our Sundays?”

He saw the start of tears in her eyes, and was confused.

“I’ll be away,” he replied, gently. “I’ll text and email you every day, though, and send you pictures if it helps you understand what I’m up to.”

“But it won’t be the same,” she whispered.

“You can come and visit me any time,” he assured her. “I’m lucky because my mum’s sister, my maiden aunt Priscilla, lives ten minutes from the uni. I’ll be staying with her, and I know she’s got a couple of spare rooms. I’d love it if you called and stayed for the odd weekend.”

“Hey, chick, don’t be so heavy…” put in Wiggy, trying to be helpful.

“Is it our turn yet?” called Simone’s voice as she approached through the gate.

“Not quite,” almost sobbed Paula. “David’s going to uni…”

“Good for him! This might be my last game, too. I’m in court next week. They say I’ll just get my knuckles rapped, but I did kill him.”

“You never meant anything of the sort!” Paula told her, realising that there could be a great deal more to trouble a person than access to a boyfriend during term time.

“We’ll finish our game, then,” said Wiggy.

“Me and Simone will watch while we wait,” murmured Paula.

The boys resumed their game, and for a while there was no more than the odd grunt and the sound of fluffy tennis balls striking strings to fill the air. Then…

“I’m sorry, Paula,” said Simone quietly.

“What for?”

“I’ve been rotten lately. The tales I told about being pregnant, the other stuff … I’m on medication, but it doesn’t always help.”

Paula didn’t know what to say. She knew what she wanted to say, but Simone, you’ll be perfectly all right when you learn to stare life in the face and accept it for what it is and not depend on chemical medication might have had quite the wrong effect on a girl as erratic as Simone seemed to have become.

“Things’ll turn out right…” she mumbled, meaningless words, she thought, but what else could she say?

“It’s all right for you!” flared her friend, “it’s not you who’s likely to be locked up with great big butch girls who want nothing more than a taste of your fanny*!”

“They won’t lock you up, silly…” began Paula. “They’ll see you had no choice … the first thing that came to hand…”

“A nail file…” sighed Simone. “That’s all it was – a nail file. And I’ve tried stabbing myself with one, lots of times, and it’s not easy… look, see, I have scars… she pulled her t-shirt up and exposed part of her stomach, which was clearly scarred it’s barely possible to break through the skin, and you have to do a darned sight more than break through the skin in order to still a beating heart!”

“It was one of those things…” sighed Paula, “it could have happened to anyone…”

“But it happened to me!”

“I don’t know what to say…”

“I’m sorry,” repeated Simone, “I shouldn’t have come. I’m in no mood for tennis, or for any game come to think of it.”

“It’ll cheer you up,” Paula told her, doubtfully, but she personally suspected that nothing would cheer Simone up while she had a manslaughter charge hanging over her head. She tried, for a moment, to put herself in her friend’s place, but couldn’t.

“The world’s so unfair sometimes,” she whispered.

“At least you understand, Paula…”

“I wish I did, properly. I do try … but I do know that everything should turn out right in the end,” she tried to assure her friend.

“Some of the people who live round our end, neighbours even, they’re horrible to me,” whispered Simone. “They weren’t there, they didn’t see him lunge into my top and grab my…”

“Boobs?”

Simone nodded.

“And they didn’t see me desperately searching for something, anything, to fend him off with… and yet they call me names, they imply that’s what I’d do to any passing stranger, and I wouldn’t Paula, I really, really wouldn’t … I don’t believe in even hurting people…”

“I’ve known you all through school and I know you’re decent and kindly,” soothed Paula, though even as she said it she knew there always had been a streak in Simone’s personality, the sort of streak that led to bragging and lying, and that bragging and lying can have a cruel outcome so far as others are concerned, and far from kindly.

“I’m going home!” decided Simone suddenly, and before Paula could say anything she had slammed her racquet down into the grass and sped wildly off, leaving a splintered racquet behind her. She might have tried following, but thought better of it. There didn’t seem much point.

But there might have been a vital point, a great big pregnant one.

It was an hour and she had arrived back home before she heard of the tennis girl who had run in front of a speeding motorcycle on the other side of the park and was apparently fighting for her life in the town’s hospital, in a desperate battle that she might so easily lose.

©Peter Rogerson 09.08.2014

 

*Fanny: slang, used in the sense common in the UK meaning vagina.

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2 Responses to “”

  1. pambrittain August 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Ohhhh, noooo.

  2. Peter Rogerson August 10, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Ohhhh yessss

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