SCARS - 1st Prize - Laurie Bolger
We are so thrilled/honoured/excited that Amanthi awarded Laurie's piece, Roadside Cafe first prize.
It's so up our street, so MONO, so fresh, so innovative, so utterly fab it kinda hurts. And it's her first-ever short story. GULP. Keep reading...
(ps. to view in the correct format you will need to read via desktop)
by Laurie Bolger
Here I am frantically tapping diners on the shoulder asking if they’ll act out the thing from the 90’s where I wear all lilac halter and weigh nothing so they put one finger behind my ear, tuck my hair in and say something like
you don’t know how beautiful you are…
and I can push one boney shoulder out and look like I am just dying
for a hamburger —
and then I see him
on the way to the bathroom
and I love him more than anything
in the world.
He has to go slow because the floor has been mopped. He’s wearing a sports jacket like my grandad might have and when he slides into the shiny booth and starts mirroring me I pretend I don’t notice
I don’t even really look up —
and he’s done this drawing, he slides it under my face look — what du think of my drawing?
I realise he’s been colouring in the sauce bottle this whole time and even though it’s a real mess I don’t say that —
he — says don’t tell his friends but he wants to play the heartthrob in the play in the big gym, he wants to be Romeo he says I just have to be him —
I want to say you’ve got the colour wrong there and you should have waited for it to dry properly that’s why the colours have bled look — but instead I say yes it’s very good, a very good drawing — he says what du think the meaning of life is? When I go to speak he tells me I have something on my chin — I don’t say anything — just smile beautiful from behind a napkin — giggle a bit.
When the waitress puts up the bubblegum chairs and sits on the high stool massaging her tired neck — I finally hand him the cigar tin that my Nan left me — I’ve been holding it this whole time like a shell and there’s some little note left inside the lid and it says the weight of this world is killing me —
I confess how obsessed I am with sad songs and before I finish the lyrics he says me too! and then I know.
I tell him sometimes me and Mairéad eat the apple pie straight from the tray with two spoons at once like they're our actual hands
—that once I was shut in the cupboard with the ghost of the wartime soldier — that once in my kitchen I fed the little mouse on purpose — that sometimes when I’m stressed I just keep chopping things for stews — sometimes when I’m stressed I polish the banister with Mr. Sheen— that’s just me — he laughs you know you’re so funny — I like women who are funny — and he tells me they put apple and red onion in the coleslaw here and it tastes mighty fine that he imagines I might like to try it.
I show him the scar from the bicycle ride but he doesn’t notice. I watch the sweet pies on the display counter a