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 […]

The Cold Nowhere*

“So, did you get your project in on time?” I ask Seb when he calls last night. “Yes,” he says.  “It’s not my best work though.  And I didn’t realise till an hour before that we were going to have to do a presentation as well and…” “You’re good at those,” I say, chopping a […]

Playing With Bones*

“Hello?” I say, answering the flat phone at seven o’clock last night. “Hello, my lovely,” Seb says. “My darling,” I say, chopping up a courgette for The Omelette.  “How were the exams?” “Fine,” Seb says.  “They weren’t much of a challenge, and I just have to pass them.  The pass mark is pretty low.” “Oh, […]

Final Exam*

“Sending lots of helpful exam-winning thoughts.  Hope they go really well xxx,” I text Seb at 9.37am today. “Thanks xxx,” he replies. He had two exams today at 11am and 1pm.   It’s now 4.26pm.   Surely he is out of there by now… “Exams are fun.  You just get in there and show them what you […]

Quick Study*

“So, did you have an exam today, my darling?” I ask Seb when he calls last night. “No,” he says.  “We were out doing fieldwork and…” “When do they start?” I say, opening the dishwasher, taking the cups out and putting them in the cupboard. “I think the Ecology ones start this week,” Seb says.  […]

The Necropolis Railway*

“Thank you for coming to see me my lovely,” Seb says, pulling me towards him.  Resting my face on his broad chest, closing my eyes, I breathe in his familiar scent. “Thank you for having me,” I say. All around us on this little station platform, student couples are saying goodbye to each other.  On […]

When The Temperature Rises*

The flat phone rings at 4.38pm. “Hello,” I say. “Hello my lovely,” Seb says. “How did you know I was here?” I say.  “It’s Monday.  I ought to be at the office.  I mean – I was at the office but I came home because I’ve got a temperature and…” “Oh yes,” Seb says.  “I […]

The Black Dahlia*

“So, I went to look at the theatre,” Seb says when he calls last night.  “Thinking about maybe getting involved in some amateur stuff whilst I’m here.” “Excellent idea,” I say.  Seb used to be an actor and it could be good for him to do a bit of it in a low-stress way. “The […]

Shadow Boxer*

“So how was your first day?” I ask Seb when he calls last night.  I’m waiting for my artichoke to cook.  It’s simmering away.  Not long to go now.  The room is filled with its earthy scent. “Oh, good, I think,” Seb says, sounding cheerful, as well he might, having just started a three year […]

The Golden Spiders*

The flat phone rings at about 9.30pm last night, just as I’m watching Andy Murray versus Bernard Tomic, recorded earlier in the day.  I already know that Andy won, and that we’re now in the Davis Cup final, but I missed the match. “Hello,” I say. “Hello my lovely,” Seb says.  “I’ve just arrived.” “So […]