One Hundred and Eight.


Izzy circle


Mark is the kind of brutal-looking kid that even adults are a little bit afraid of. When Mark looks at himself in the mirror before school in the mornings, the thinks to himself, ‘what a bruiser,’ he thinks this even though he’s not exactly sure what a bruiser is and sticks his bottom lip out scrunching his eyes all crazy and mean. Mark doesn’t think he’d ever actually want to punch someone but since everyone else seems to think he does, he figures that he might as well look the part. He practises cracking his knuckles in front of the mirror until his hands hurt. Mark’s almost 9 and he’s already almost 5 feet tall and weighs just over 50kg. Mark reckons this is pretty big. Mark’s parents think this is pretty big too. Sometimes they make frowning faces and prod his belly when he’s not looking like they think he won’t notice, like he can’t feel his own skin. He wonders how big he’ll be when he’s finished growing up. Mark imagines himself having to stoop in his house and taking up the whole kitchen and all the furniture suddenly looking like it was made for dolls. Standing outside the chippy with his razr scooter, he pokes his head in nervously. Maddy’s still waiting in the line, patiently gripping a £5 note in her fist. Mark isn’t allowed into the chippy any more, because the man behind the counter doesn’t like him. The man at the chippy thinks Mark spilt the ketchup all over the floor three weeks ago. It wasn’t Mark. The man who spilt ketchup all over the floor was a lot taller than Mark and he was wearing a white shirt with a collar and very shiny black shoes. When the chippy man had turned and walked to the kitchen to get shiny shoes his order, the shiny man stumbled and righted himself on the counter. The sauce got knocked off and pooled everywhere, all over the tiles. When the chippy man walked back out, Mark and the shiny man were staring at the bottle as sauce bubbled out of it’s open mouth. The chippy man went apeshit at Mark and told him never to come back and the shiny man just stood there and smirked and took his order and didn’t clean it up. Mark thought about apologising even though he didn’t do it, but he knew the chippy man was just looking for an excuse anyway. So he stands and pokes his head around the corner and waits for Maddy to get the chips and nuggets so they can eat them in the park together. This time they won’t walk behind the hill so no one sees him hanging out with his little sister. This time Mark will just squint his eyes and tell them they just don’t know how cool she is, how brave.


Sarah circle


I’m sorry, kiddo
We’re at the end of the road
With a pocketful of nothing
And a chest full of lies
There’s no cure for this sickness
And no salve for what we’ve torn raw
We’ve fucked up all the somethings
We’ve forgotten all the songs
All the dew-damp mornings on your kneecaps
All the holy half-lights in hotel stairwells
All the fucks and fights and fierce hot love
They’ve all come down to this
Two death-drunk old friends
At the foot of the world
Where every step down is one too many
And every step up is one too late
The bells are ringing in the dusky day
As the sun slips below the skin of the world
And the night we ruled like children
Comes crawling back to drown us once and for all
Ah, there’s no nonsense like romance
To cleave your honest tongue
And there’s no sweetness like sadness
To stain your mind with love
And if nothing else can linger
But the words we leave behind
I’ll take this time to finally learn
To keep my thoughts inside
Don’t you dare to beg redemption
For your sins or for mine
Just button up my coat, love
One last, lonely time



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