On the day of my departure, I spotted a corner in her bedroom and thought about what might happen if I stayed there. Lurking, hiding, tugging at the duvet with nimble fingertips… the corner looked so comfortable, so peaceful. Shrouded beneath micro-fibres and cat hairs which always flutter up my nose and make my chest wheeze, I could stay there and not have to go back. The life of an expat isn’t always so rosy when you’re headed for a country you wish you hadn’t ventured to in the first place. And as you feel your body being shoved hard in one direction, you start to dig your heels into the ground and that corner, that tiny, honeycomb crevice of carpet and dead skin suddenly looks so appealing… The same thing happened at Disneyland. I was on my year abroad and hating every second. A moment’s joy came in the form of a weekend break to Disneyland Paris and I found myself staring at another corner (this time in a bathroom) and wondering what would happen if I just stayed there, curled up like a kitten… and never went back to my desk job. Strange, isn’t it? How corners and small spaces seem to offer comfort in dark times, beckoning me in with open arms and clutching me to their simple bosom. Safe spaces are lovely and inviting, but in a similar vein to comfort zones, nothing grows inside them.
At the start of every day
I’m going to be a vegetarian.
But then one sweaty Sunday
A hotel buffet calls,
Rows of striped bacon, fluffy eggs
And spongey sausages which flutter
Down my gullet…
I saunter up for a third helping
Delights piled high on the plate,
A leaning tower of meaty Pisa.
Let’s stuff ourselves to the brim
More so now than we’ve ever done
Because it’s free of course,
Gotta get that dollar’s worth
Even though the bacon fat
Will choke our hearts.
Thirteen glasses of orange juice
And a bucket of coffee later
I’m nauseatingly full.
With a ketchup-stained mouth
And greasy fingers
I swear not to do it again
Hotel buffets are a blessing and a curse
For those with never-ending stomachs.
The Gran Canarian heat has me sprawled across the stony floor like a starfish.
Pores open, chest red from sunburn,
Three showers a day is a common occurrence.
Deodorant stick runs frighteningly low,
Armpits stagnant after a hard day’s labour,
Teaching the youth of today and tomorrow.
Donning long sleeves to look presentable, more business-like, like I belong,
The fabric only clings to my fruity skin.
Famous for our lack of air conditioning,
Parents implore we purchase more fans to keep their children’s brows free from sweat,
But even when they’re blasting, and kids
With snotty-noses and grotty fingers brush their fingers along the tables,
We’re still roasting like English potatoes.
I don’t need a car, a job, a husband, a dog
I just need my mum, she says.
24 and staring at the floor
Kicking my feet like a wannabe Dorothy
Kansas why’d ya leave me sore?
24 and needing a cuddle
Brain is just a jumbo muddle
Curse you, Mum, for being the best
Just look at the monstrous bar you set!
Gimme shelter, said the Stones
Well I agree, I need my home
Nothing bad ever happens there
The kids all dance without a care.
Mum, please carry me in your pocket
Whisk me off to Marks and Sparks
Spend those pennies, park the car
See pensioners fight over frilly bras
Chicken breasts and caviar.
24 and kicking my feet,
You’ll never be rid
Of this big-ass baby.