The morning after

Sometimes I miss being younger, and sometimes I don’t… this old piece of writing reminded me why!

The grey light of dawn peeked through the gap in the curtains, and found me already awake.

With glum resignation, I had to accept that the night had passed without sleep. The rest of the house had finally fallen quiet after a reckless house party had galloped out of control. It had culminated messily when two friends of mine, both dressed in drag and looking fabulous, had to roll up their blouse sleeves and heave a bunch of trouble-makers out the front door by the hair.

With a sigh, I knew that downstairs, amid the comatose bodies of sleeping revellers, the house would still be festooned in party debris. My mind wondered over the smashed lights, footmarks on the walls, wine and glitter all over the floor, the stair banister that had been pulled away from the wall and the kitchen sink that was blocked with cigarette stubs and a pork pie.

The reek of alcohol and stale smoke was seeping in under my bedroom door like some kind of insidious creature. I decided to sneak away now, while everyone was still sleeping, to clear my head. The floorboards creaked with surprise at seeing me up so early as I moved about, pulling on the winter layers.

I closed the front door shut behind me as quietly as I could, and with relief, sucked in a lungful of fresh air. The streets were deserted, and as I set off down the road, my footsteps echoed off the buildings. Stray litter danced happily here and there in a gust of freezing wind.

I headed towards a recreation ground. It was fringed in tall, naked winter trees, and I followed a footpath that ran alongside a river. A couple of swans slid slowly and elegantly on the black water, regarding me regally. A bit further on, a crowd of black rooks blew up into a squawking cloud when I disturbed them.

The path meandered up a slippery and muddy hill, through clawing, thorny hedges. I emerged at the top, and paused to take in some lovely views over the town. A little further on, I found a small church nestling under huge trees. I walked around to the back of it, and pushed open a tiny rusty gate that led into a graveyard. I strolled through overgrown, frosty grass as I wondered over mysterious names and dates on the lichen-smothered headstones.

I came to a stop at a stout, flint wall. On the other side, a group of horses grazed in a field, their breath hanging about their heads like friendly ghosts. Eventually, one of them slowly trundled over. He hung his head over the wall and examined me closely with his enormous eyeball to see if I had any food for him. When it transpired that I hadn’t, he swung away in disdain, farting loudly as he ambled back towards his mates. I was reminded of the mob in my house, who by now must have been regaining some semblance of consciousness.

I turned around and headed back down towards the little town. A short while later, I was standing outside my front door, fishing for my key. Through the letterbox, I could hear the sound of a vacuum cleaner. My sprits were rising.  

Pearl

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