Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Gift

Gabby had a present for me today.

I woke up groggy, my mind ticking with memories of another bad night in Holyhead. Women’s faces teased me from the darkness, hands wandering over my thoughts until my flesh crept under the vague suspicion that the whole thing had been a mess of cosmic proportions.

It was about as much as I could do to splash water over my face, wrap myself in my towelling dressing gown, and try to replace the bitter taste of almonds in my mouth with the bathroom’s false fragrance. By the time I had shaved, Gabby had set a table out on the balcony of our flat.

I pour myself a glass of fresh orange juice in the kitchen before I stepped out into the fresh morning air. Looking down on Bangor’s harbour, I thought even the waves were beating a quick retreat at the first touch of the cold stone walls. Only the distant mountains seemed at ease with these winter days, sipping from the edge of a sky of blue with bright clean Curaçao.

‘Do you like it?’ she asked.

I gazed down at the box that was sitting squarely on the spot where I usually put my breakfast. Above the top of edge of the box, two eyes watched me with no little indifference.

‘It’s a dog,’ I said.

‘Cutest little puppy in all of Wales,’ said Gabs, grabbing the animal and pushing it to her cheek like she was powdering her face.

‘I don’t want a dog,’ I told her.

Romanian eyes turned teary.

‘But look how cute he is!’

I sipped my drink. I was in no mood to argue. There are many different types of bully in the world.

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