Always Have Pride

“Bisexuality isn’t real! It’s just a word for people who are confused. You’re either gay or straight, and you’ll grow out of this and pick one.”

It’s a sunny day and I’m in a crowd of people, marching along. I can see boys holding hands, girls kissing, a tiny kid beaming from ear to ear with a t-shirt proudly proclaiming ‘I love my two mummies!’ and waving a mini rainbow flag in one pudgy hand. I’m wearing my bisexual flag t-shirt and my eyeshadow is the colours of the flag and around me it’s a riot of bright colours and happy faces and joyous noise. I smile.

“You can’t use ‘they’ to refer to one singular person, it’s not grammatically correct! There’s no such thing as ‘non-binary’, everyone’s either male or female.”

I turn to my friend and they grin at me. There’s a trans flag badge pinned to their t-shirt, which has ‘they/them’ painted on it in neon orange, and they’re eating an ice cream cone. The ice cream drips onto their wrist and they laugh as they try and fail to lick it before it melts. They’re relaxed and at ease and it’s lovely to see.

“What’s the point in gay marriage? I mean, you can just have a civil partnership, that’s the same, stop complaining!”

There’s two old men walking along, a stream of people going faster around them, the two of them content to go their own pace. They’re holding hands, wedding rings glinting on their fingers. Their hair is grey and their faces are wrinkled and they’re wearing matching t-shirts that say ‘together for thirty years, married for one!’, and they’re gazing around them with faces full of emotion, as if they’re astonished at how far we’ve come. They look so happy, and I can’t stop my tears.

“Don’t be ridiculous, this is just a phase. You’ll get over it and find a nice boy and settle down.”

It’s later that day, and I’m sitting on the beach, watching the sunset with my girlfriend. Today’s makeup is smudged across her face, glitter everywhere, a giant rainbow flag tied around her shoulders. She’s beautiful in the fading light, and I love her so much that my heart is full of it, and I’m so incredibly lucky that she loves me too. And as she kisses me and the sky changes colour, all I can think is how much things change. Things change and people change and you should never stop hoping, and wishing, and loving. And you should always have pride.

-Maura Kenny

[22/02/17: Non-Binary, Pride, picture of two girls of a beach]

Advertisements

Study of Witches

Extract from “The Study of Witches” by Stephen Cabrano:

Magic tends to skip a generation. Often, witches learn from their grandmothers, and so they always have a slightly old-fashioned approach to things. Heavy spellbooks filled with crammed handwritten spells and recipes, old cauldrons and knives… Not to mention that specialised tools such as broomsticks and wands are remarkably expensive- hard to make, so there are few who do.  It’s rare that your average village witch will have a new one. More likely she’ll have a broom that’s been handed down from at least four witches before her, that’s been mended and patched so often that there’s very little of the original broom left.

But the witches themselves tend to be modern, and it makes for an entertaining and remarkable system. Young witches are filled with thoughts about progress and new ideas and a fresh outlook on everything. They work closely with the people and they learn what they want. Witches are almost always empathetic, caring, concerned about the people in their village, the people under their care. They talk with the people and they hear their ideas and then they try and implement them.

Because of this, witches’ homes are always so anachronistic. Old books stacked beside laptops, cauldrons beside electric kettles, and once I even saw a brand-new modern motorbike in a garage beside an old broom with half of its twigs bent all over the place. It truly is an interesting juxtaposition.

Note scrawled at the bottom of the page in pencil:

What absolute fucking bollocks. What a wanker. If I’d known he was going to write this drivel I’d never have let him in my bloody house. What did he do, go to three witches’ houses and decide he was an expert? Just another man with unwanted opinions. Well he can take his bloody ‘study of witches’ and shove it up his own arse. And I’ll remember this if he ever needs help from an ‘anachronistic witch’. Pompous prick.

-Maura Kenny

[18/03/17: Anachronistic]

A Mermaid on the Pier

There was a mermaid at the pier. She’d pulled herself partially out of the water, her head resting on her crossed arms on the stone of the low pier, her tail waving lazily back and forth, half out of the water.

I blinked at her. I’d been sitting on the edge of the pier, reading my book, cooling my feet in the water, swinging my legs back and forth, when there’d been a splash of water and then she’d appeared.

“Hello,” I said stupidly, staring at her, my mouth gaping. She was very beautiful.  Her hair was long and dark and wet, falling around her face and down her back. Her tail was a pale pink, iridescent and shiny, contrasting with the dark brown of her skin. Her smile was huge and happy and her eyes were green and I was still staring.

“Hello,” said the mermaid, looking up at me. “How are you?”

“I’m… I’m fine?” I said. A mermaid was talking to me. A beautiful mermaid was talking to me. “How are you?”

“I’m great,” she beamed, and then her face turned sad. “Actually, I was wondering if you could help me with something?”

“Yes, of course,” I said, way too quickly. I could feel my face flushing. Damnit.

“There’s just one thing I need, to get my tail to turn into legs.”

“What is it? I’ll help!” I said, eagerly.

“I need a kiss from a pretty girl.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, looking around, “I’ll just-”

I was interrupted by her laugh, and I glanced back down at her. She was smiling at me, and I realised.

“Oh. You mean me?” I asked, blushing, and she nodded. I smiled faintly, and then bent down to kiss her. Her lips were soft and salty and I was kissing a mermaid and it was lovely.

I pulled away, and looked down at her tail. It was still there. “Oh,” I said, disappointed. “It didn’t work.”

She laughed again. “I’m sorry,” she said, looking a little guilty. “I lied. I don’t need a kiss to make my legs appear, I just need to get fully out of the water.”

“Oh,” I said, and grabbed the hand she reached out, pulling her awkwardly up onto the pier, wishing I was stronger. Finally she was out the water, sitting beside me, as her tail dried in the sun and her legs appeared.

“Wow,” I said, unable to stop myself, and she grinned at me.

“Thank you,” she said gratefully, and I ducked my head, embarrassed.

“Umm,” I said, peeking up at her. She was looking at me. “You don’t need to lie to get me to kiss you,” I said, and she laughed, bringing her lips to mine again.

-Maura Kenny

[24/02/17: Iridescent]

Mario Kart

“It is absolutely fucking freezing,” Em muttered, gazing up at the stars and the full moon in the dark night sky, and scowled as she heard a laugh through her earpiece.  “Don’t laugh!”

“Come on, I’m allowed to laugh,” Lucy said, and Em could hear how amused she was.

“It’s alright for you, I’m sure you’re nice and warm in your cosy car with the heater on,” Em said, rubbing her hands together. They felt like little blocks of ice.

“Yeah, I am,” Lucy said smugly, “I bet you’re upset that the random final race was Rainbow Road now, huh?”

“It’s not fair that you’re so much better at that one!” Em snapped, and Lucy laughed again. “I’m gonna win next time, and then you’ll have to stand out in the cold to watch the building.”

“Yeah, right,” Lucy said, “is that a promise?”

“Yes,” Em said vehemently, and then straightened as she saw movement. “Ooh, heads up, there he is.”

“I’m on my way,” Lucy said, and Em heard the door open. “The one who arrests him choses dinner tonight?”

“You’re on,” Em said, and started to run.

-Maura Kenny

[21/02/17: picture of the full moon]

Dancing on the Train

We were on the underground, exhausted and drained and grumpy and not holding hands. The carriage was full, and we were standing, and she was standing slightly away from me. We weren’t touching, and although neither of us had said, I knew why.

Because this morning we’d been holding hands walking down the street, minding our own business, and an old woman had shouted at us.

You’re the reason the world is a mess! she’d yelled, and worse things too, and we’d dropped hands like the other was on fire, too afraid to shout back at her.

And here we were, on an underground, and there was a distance between us that hadn’t been there before.

The train shuddered to a halt and I swayed with the motion, shifting out of the way for the people coming on. I was tired and upset and I wanted to be home, wanted to be safe in our flat where I could hug her and we could sleep in each other’s arms.

But then, music started, and I jumped, glancing around. Further down the carriage, a group of men were standing, dancing, one with an accordion and one with a drum and one with a trumpet, and they were playing, but more than that they were having fun. Dancing and scatting and grinning, playing the most joyous song that filled the carriage with noise and music.

I looked over at her. Her foot was tapping and her lips were curving into a tentative smile, and she met my eyes, hers so bright and blue and beautiful, and the emotions I saw there mirrored my own. And I reached out my hand and she took it, and then we were dancing, dancing terribly and ungracefully and uncoordinated in this cramped underground train. She spun me and I laughed, and someone cheered, and she grinned, wide and uncontrolled, and the music continued and we smiled.

-Maura Kenny

[28/02/17: Mirrored]

Have Fun

People are sitting next to me in this train.

Matt blinked at the text, and then typed out a tentative reply.

i mean
that’s usually how it goes on trains

The quickness of Sarah’s reply suggested she wasn’t reading, wasn’t writing, wasn’t doing her normal train activities.

Yes.
But there’s lots of them.
They’re so noisy.
And there is an odious smell.

Mark chuckled.

odious?
you’re such a fucking pretentious writer

Sarah’s reply was a middle finger emoji, and Mark grinned.

it’s not a long journey tho, you’ll be fine

WILL I????

stop overreacting

I am NOT overreacting.

Alright fine maybe I am.
But they’re drinking beer and being loud.
I’m going to deafen myself with how high my music is turned up, honestly.

you’ll be fine
anyway
i’m going into my meeting now
thanks for entertaining me

No don’t leave me!

have fun!

Mark turned off his phone with a smile, feeling much better about his shitty meeting. At least he wasn’t on a train.

-Maura Kenny

[20/02/17: Odious]

Paint Me

‘Baby, come on. Let me paint you.’

‘I’m busy.’

‘Come on, Eleanor…’

She dipped her finger in the paint, drew a red line down Eleanor’s forearm. Eleanor stopped what she was doing to wipe it off, but it only smeared.

Stained.

‘Stop it’, she pulled her arm away, and Nia pinched her wrist in purple, ‘Nia, leave me alone-’

She stepped backwards, and her foot slipped on the jagged edge of a broken glass. Nia barely looked up as she hissed in pain, smearing her hand in blue paint this time and dipping her fingers onto the duvet. Docile.

‘Blue looks better. We should get blue sheets…’

Cross-legged on the bed, easel in her lap, she stroked the marks on the bedding. Eleanor snatched an old towel from the end of the bed and wound it around her foot, gathering the shards of broken glass into her hand. Standing in the midst of a mess, she couldn’t see a path to the bin that wouldn’t cause her more injury.

Still, Nia sat in a nest of cushions, oblivious to the remnants of her latest outburst.

‘Nia? Could you help me?’

‘Later’, Nia rolled over onto her back, ignoring the broken glasses, the upturned furniture, ‘I’m painting first.’

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 08/02, merry muses, jagged)

Hate

He wanted to hate her.

He wanted to hate her when they had their first fight, and she blew everything out of proportion until they were screaming at each other over who cooked dinner more often. Instead, he knocked on her locked door with spaghetti carbonara at midnight. She let him in, and they ate in bed.

He wanted to hate her when she told him she didn’t care anymore. That she didn’t want to be with him, that if he couldn’t make an effort then she’d go home to her parents’ house and he wouldn’t ever hear from her again.

Instead, he bought her an engagement ring.

He wanted to hate her after they were married. When she’d sit in silence, staring at the television, ignoring their daughter tugging at her skirt. Instead, he took the baby and taught her the word “Mummy”.

He wanted to hate her when she left.

But he only ever loved her instead.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 11/02, thorn, ‘The roses are not less lovely…’)

Coward

She’d always known it would be easier to leave.

Easier than hiding in the bathroom for hours after she’d burned dinner. Easier than not being able to sleep without drinking. Easier than making excuses to their children.

But it would be hard, too.

Hard to bother feeding herself when she was only cooking for one. Hard to fall asleep alone. Hard to explain to the kids that she’d lied, that she didn’t fall down the stairs or bump her cheek on the doorframe…

So she stayed. For now.

A coward.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 12/02, easier, ‘I Want To Break Free’)

Exposed

I wish I’d thought ahead.

It was just so easy, at the time, to be reckless. I thought I had the power; had him under a spell, but it was all just a game.

I didn’t realise I was giving him a hold over me.

It seemed romantic, that he could undress me with his eyes. I never thought there would be a time when I’d wish he couldn’t. When we’d be arguing, and instead of looking me in the eye, I could tell he was exploring my skin instead.

I never thought there would be a time when his gaze would hurt.

When it would burn.

 

by Molly Duffield

(prompts: 13/02, foresight, exposure)