She’s back out the front door in her nighty again.
"Just taking out the recycling, love’" she chirps on her way out the door carrying a solitary can of coke, careful not to smear her freshly painted nails.
Oh, you’ve noticed her sudden enthusiasm for recycling recently. Especially when that new neighbour is around. What’s his name? Simon. Hmmph. Even his name sounds like a sneer. Slimy Simon with his tight little cycle shorts, and his twinkly blue eyes.
Silly old trollop, making a show of herself in front the whole neighbourhood. She must think you’re blind. Oh, but you see her. It’s been like this ever since Slimy Simon moved in last month. He came round to introduce himself one night. Brought wine and cupcakes. Cupcakes, I ask you!
The moment she saw him, she was oozing all over him like rancid butter, tongue hanging so far out of her mouth you thought you’d have to scrape it off the floor and poke it back into her mouth with a stick. He wasn’t exactly discouraging her either; staying to share the bottle, talking about all his foreign travels and fancy, extreme sports.
You can hear their idle chatter now, her too-harsh, girlie giggles floating through the ajar door. What is she doing?
You’ve had murder fantasies about him. How you’d like to tie him up and kill him slow. How you’d like to hang him from his toes, slice him all over with a very sharp knife, watch him bleed to death…
She’s coming back in, and for a moment you have a guilty urge to hide, to become inconspicuous in some way, pick up the paper from the chair and pretend to read it. But you don’t, because you remember she’ll just look right through you same as always. These days, she doesn’t even seem to notice you’re there.
She wouldn’t have got away with that in the old days. You wouldn’t have let her. But there’s nothing you can do now. All you can do is stand and watch as your Irene goes about her business. If only you were still alive, you’d have given her what for. She knows that only too well. Has a few scars to prove it. Not on the face though. Never on the face.
Face of an angel, she has, even now ten years later. Always so meek and simple. You never thought she’d have the strength to fight back. Never thought she’d be the type. You should’ve known she’d not stand for you hurting the boy. The first time you raised a hand to him you could see her eyes burn with something hot-coal white. There wasn’t a second.
You’ll never know how she managed to clean up all that blood. Where she found the strength to drag you down the cellar, bury you, but she did. Stronger than she looks, the old girl.
You look at the boy now, your son. 15 years old. Strapping lad. He looks nothing like you, and you wonder again if he was really yours.
"That Simon one seems nice, mum", he says and she smiles widely, ruffling his hair as she looks off into the distance.
"He’s not bad I suppose", she says, walking towards the kitchen. "Fancy a brew, love?" She calls back over her shoulder, the sun through the doorway hitting her just right, so it looks like she’s shining.
photo credit: kamshots