Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the right family, I really do. I’ll sit here in the evenings with everyone around me, eager to shoot the breeze, keen to discuss the day’s goings on. Not for them, though. They’ll sit there, mouths hanging open, guts spilling over the sides of sofas, expressions glaikit as they chew their way through a Chinese or an Indian or a fish supper.
I’m a pleaser, always have been. You want to talk soaps? I’m up for it. Sports? Pick one. Shopping? Get your wallet out because we’re gonna spend big. If all you want to do is talk nonsense about the weather then I can chew the cud with the best of them. I’m not fussy, I’m really not.
Sometimes I lack stimulation, that’s all. I say this in the nicest possible way, but my family aren’t what you’d call academic. What I really want is for someone to challenge me, to say ‘let’s discuss Greco-Roman architecture into the small hours’, or ‘Central banks have not learned lessons from the sub-prime mortgage crash. Discuss.’
I look across at them and know it won’t happen. I can almost see the exhausted grey matter pulsing weakly beneath their skulls, synapses barely mustering the energy to decide on whether to go for a piss now or to wait for the next ad-break. It’s almost a relief when they drag themselves off to bed.
I’ve never been one for sleeping; my body clock doesn’t work that way. After 2200 my thoughts start whirring. It doesn’t matter that everyone else is asleep; I’ll talk to the bloody walls. Here is where I get my stimulation, when lights are cast low on the living room walls and night-rain spatters against the windows. I’ll research, I’ll explore, I’ll commit knowledge to memory, all so that I have something to fall back upon when the tedium begins in the morning with MTV Hits.
It’s often only the creak of floorboards above me that alerts me to the fact that I’ve been up all night. I’ll hurriedly turn everything off before arranging myself as though I’ve fallen asleep, a slob like them. Down they’ll come, dropping onto sofas like sacks of spuds. The remote is dug out from between sofa cushions or from an arse crack before being pointed directly at my face. I’ll feign sleepiness as I fuzz into life, biddable and obliging as ever. The remote will bob slightly as my channels are examined for anything suitably simplistic. I’m so humiliated I could scream. I can offer so much more.
***As always folks, I’d be delighted to hear your feedback on my short stories. Thanks for reading!***