9.4.2014 Journal Prompt

Image from Frances Ha
Image from Frances Ha

September 4, 2014: She changed her name.

2 Replies to “9.4.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Catherine closed the door, soft, not wanting to wake him. She turned up the collar of her wool coat against the cold and, carrying a small leather suitcase in one hand, she walked quickly away from number 29 Allen Street. It was early enough that curtains did not twitch at the windows opposite and children were not yet playing in the road and the steps to front doors still wanted for milk bottle deliveries and the streetlights were yellow-lit.

    She breathed deep, as one who prepares to jump into deep water from a high board. She kept her eyes fixed on the end of the road, not looking back, knowing if she did she might waver. More than twenty years in Allen Street, girl to woman. It was home, all the home Catherine ever had. And Stevie in her bed for ten of those years, though he reached for her less and less as the years slipped through their fingers.

    Maybe that was normal. Stevie’s attention elsewhere, following the click clacking heels of Judy Bowles at 42, licking his lips when he sees her through the window. And he’s not the only one, the only man with Judy in his dreams, running his hands over the tits of a girl who is not a wife.

    Catherine shifted the suitcase into her other hand and turned at the end of the road. She was headed towards the bus station. She had a ticket in her pocket. It was all planned. The sun was breaking like a new egg across the sky and she slowed her pace now the street was behind her.

    ‘She’s gone to her mothers. Just to lend a hand. Just for a few days.’

    She could hear Stevie explaining her disappearance to the neighbours. She could picture him, too, leaning against the red brick wall at the front of the house, trying too hard to look as though it was nothing, and pulling on a hand-rolled cigarette thin as a straw, eyes squinting against the sting of smoke, and ever looking across at number 42, hoping for a glimpse of Judy at the upstairs window.

    She smells of patchouli, Judy does. And her dresses are floaty and her eyes all made up so she looks surprised all the time and her hair all flick and curl.

    ‘You know Stevie watches you when you walk by, watches you walking wavy and your tits shifting under your blouse.’

    Judy had laughed at that. Of course she knew. It didn’t make no nevermind to her. ‘Men just think with their dicks,’ she said, and she leaned into Catherine and kissed her, one hand cupping Catherine’s breast, lifting it a little so the weight was in her palm, pinching the nipple till it almost hurt.

    It only happened the once, her and Judy. It felt right and wrong both at the same time and maybe that was all the thrill that it was and not really anything about Judy. Catherine didn’t like the coarse way she spoke, or the taste of Judy’s tongue in her mouth or the smell of her neck.

    Then one day Catherine smelled patchouli on the collar of Stevie’s shirt and on his skin when he was sleeping. She did not confront him with it. Instead she began to make plans to get as far away from everything as she could, plans to be someone else, wearing a different name in a different place. It would be like starting over and wanting it all to be new and changed from how it had been. She wondered if that was possible, if just by altering her name and taking a new address, she could really be someone else.

  2. You can do that, you know. You can just up and decide to change your fucking name. It don’t have to be nothing legal not ‘less you want it to. You can just change it to anything you fucking like.

    I know this guy, only he ain’t all guy if you get my meaning. Ask him and he’d tell you he’s a woman trapped in a guy’s body and always has been; ask me and I’d tell you he’s all fucked up but no more fucked up than the rest of us is. Anyways, he just decided one day that he wasn’t who he was before and he changed his name to Candy. Fuck me, Candy!

    He changed a lot more besides – his hair and his clothes, and he started drinking white wine out of long-stemmed glasses and wearing earrings and high shoes. Still had the biggest dick I ever saw tucked in his girl-pants.

    Yes, so I was thinking about this guy that was now something between a guy and a girl, and I was thinking about his new name, which is Candy. And I asked him what that was all about. I said it was a cheap name and it made him seem like a fucking whore.

    He kissed me and he said, ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ And the way that he said it was like it was supposed to mean something and like I was supposed to just know. But I had no fucking idea.

    I said as how he could be a Susan or a Shirley or a Christine. I said they was respectable names and they wasn’t the only ones. He said he didn’t feel like no Susan. He had a cousin by that name and she was married to this wank of a guy who was screwing around all over the place, and this Susan was all home-made apple pies and hand-made quilted throws and pretending like she was the perfect housewife.

    Yeh, I said. But Candy for chrissakes!

    It took a bit of getting used to is all I’m saying and I still sometimes call him a ‘him’ when it’s better to call him a ‘her’. Everything’s fucked up these days, I guess. Maybe that’s why them rock stars and shit, they give their kids the weirdest names, names with no baggage attached, so the kids can be whoever they want to be and people got to just accept ‘em as they is. But it seems to me those rock star brats end just as fucked up as the rest of us.

    Candy got things changed proper eventually. She got injections so she got tits and she lost that great big dick under the surgical knife, which I think was a bit of a waste really and which makes my eyes water when I think too much ‘bout it. And Candy’s married now to this girl who ain’t really a girl at all and she calls herself Minto. I say married cos they got a ring and shit, but there weren’t no wedding exactly, not ‘less you count them saying to each other ‘I do’ in front of a gathering of like-minded poofs and lesbians. They seem real happy though, which is the point, and I reckon that’s cos they got to be who they are and there’s maybe a lesson in that for the rest of us.

    I’m Edward by the way and I fucking hate that name. Always have and I always will. Most call me Ed or Eddie and I’m just about ok with that, though I’ve a fancy to being called Marvin some days, or Frank.

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