A Siege Of Bitterns*

“Tanya, it’s Seb,” Mum calls through the bathroom door. “Where?” I shout. “On the phone,” Mum calls. “On my way,” I shout, hauling myself out of the bath, pulling my towel round me. “So, the thing about garden birds is that they’re an artificially sustained population,” Mum is saying into the phone when I make […]

Shallow Grave*

“You can tell by his game that he’s worried: just the way he’s hitting the ball, the errors he’s making,” the commentator says.  David Goffin, the world number 16, is a set and a break down to Kyle Edmund, the British twenty year old ranked 100 in the world. “He should be strutting around there […]

Dirty Laundry*

“Get out of bed and sort that washing out,” the panther says, breathing into my face.  His breath smells of rotten meat. It’s 5.30pm and I’m trying, and failing to achieve my afternoon sleep. “I’m not doing it,” I tell him.  He looks appalled and turns away from me, waving his tail.  He gazes out […]

The Omelet Murder Case*

Seb still loves me, I think, and a warm glow suffuses my whole self.   As long as we are together, nothing is that bad.  Can’t wait to see him and cuddle him and talk to him.  Can’t wait to cook him The Omelette.  Haven’t managed to learn to cook any new dishes, but after […]

Red Harvest*

The fields flash past.  Am on the train home already.  It’s a gorgeous hot day and the sky is a cloudless blue. Haven’t heard from Seb for a week.  His last message was last Saturday.  Hope that there is some innocent explanation for this: 1.  He’s broken his new Thai phone. 2.  He’s been kidnapped […]

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway*

No messages from Seb since Saturday.  Maybe his phone has been drowned in the rain.  Or sucked dry by leeches.  Hope he will send a message soon.  Am missing him.  There’s no point in worrying about it, I tell myself.  He will be in touch.  Must hold on to this thought. The panther dozes on […]

Echo Park*

Sitting in the park, in the sun, I smear sun cream all over my arms and chest.  The panther lies under the shade of a palm tree.  The alcoholics sit on their benches and don’t bother me.  And suddenly I feel a surge of happiness: despite my low mood, despite Seb being away, despite how […]

Blood Jungle Ballet*

“Face it, he’s not coming back,” the panther says as he sits on my windowsill, watching a squirrel on the bird feeder. “He is,” I say.  “In a couple of weeks Seb will be back.” “And, even if he comes back for a bit, then he’s going to university.  For three whole years,” the panther […]

Cicada*

“Hope all’s going well my sweet?” Seb’s message comes through at 5.15pm.  “Very nice here.  The soft sound of the crickets has replaced the intense cicadas and it’s a lovely peaceful night.   Lots of love xxx.” Have just been crying about how miserable I am, but must pull self together to compose a cheerful […]

The Jungle Book*

The flat phone rings.  Picking it up, I say “Hello.” “Hello my lovely,” Seb says. I can’t believe that it’s him.  “Are you calling me from the jungle?” I say. “Yes, I might run out of credit but I wanted to call you and say hello,” he says.  The line crackles, it’s not a good […]