I fiddled with my earlobe, staring at myself in the mirror.The more I thought about it, the yellowier the white ceramic tiles seemed to turn.The grey ice floating in the sink was slowly melting and I dipped my fingers between them, trying impossibly to hold the slippery cubes.

Naomi was sitting on the toilet seat behind me and she caught my eye in the reflection. I looked down at the sink again and when I looked up she was standing, toes pressed against my heels and hand on my waist. Her hand came up from behind me and she lifted the drawing pin to my face. I took it from her and she returned to her position on the brown Bakelite seat, nodding approvingly. I felt sick at once as I pressed the cold cubes against my ear. I held them there with my eyes closed until I couldn’t feel my fingertips.

1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10…All at once my eyes clicked open and the point was pressing into the faded blue ink dot on my right lobe. My thumb was positioned against the back of my ear and I cried out in pain as the force of my fingers pushed the pin through the soft flesh of the earlobe and into my thumb.Fuck.

I held my hand by the wrist like it was some kind of sword. Scarlet tears were freely running down my palm and down my arm. Naomi came over and took my bloody hand and ever so slowly she lifted up my thumb to her face and put it between her lips. She pulled it deeper into her mouth and nibbled on my nail letting out a giggle. I pulled away angrily.

‘You’re disgusting,’ I said, wiping my hand on the back of my pants.She laughed again and turned her attention to the mirror.‘How’s the ear?’I had almost forgotten about it.It hadn’t bled as badly as I had expected and I pulled at the bits of scab that had clung to the downy hair at the bottom of the lobe.The drawing pin stood erect; some alien object that had invaded my body. I couldn’t face pulling it out and decided to leave it like that till the morning.The red stains that blotted the sink dissolved under the running water of the cold tap and the tiny blobs of ice now looked like frogspawn.I splashed some of it on my face and neck.‘Lets go downstairs,’ I said. Naomi led the way down to the kitchen where I poured a glass of orange juice. I flexed my toes at the sticky lino flooring that stuck to my socks. Old Weetabix sat caked on the edge of a bowl and I flicked it onto the windowsill.The sun had almost died behind the garden wall and frost clung quietly to the weeds that grew between the cracks.Naomi switched on the radio and the Mamas and Papas came blaring into the languid room. She began singing.‘Stopped off at a church, we passed along the way…’Stop it Naomi.‘And I got down on my knees…’Stop it.‘And I began to pray…’Stop it.She got up and took off her socks as she danced around the kitchen wildly, twisting and laughing.‘California dreaming on such a winters day…’She looked so funny I couldn’t help but laugh.Grabbing my arms, she began waving them around our heads, jumping and screaming along to the music.It was infectious. I couldn’t help but do the same and soon we were swinging our heads, eyes rolling in their sockets and shouting in a state of delicious delirium.Suddenly the music clicked off and I turned to find him standing in the doorway in amusement. I looked round for Naomi but she had run into the hall.I was left standing on the cold tiles. Hands clasped.‘So how are my favourite girls?’ he said, walking over. ‘A little nuts it appears.’I bit my lip as he put his hands across my stomach and kissed my head. His attention went straight to my ear at which point he stepped back, shocked.‘What the hell is this?’ He said.I looked away.‘You know I don’t like piercings.’I turned around and put my hands on the sink.‘Why?’I dug my nails into the cold chrome bowl.It wasn’t my idea.He walked out of the kitchen and into the living room.Naomi was sitting cross-legged on the brown sofa and looked up. He ignored her and clambered over to sit on the broken green armchair.I came and joined them picking up the remote control.I’m sorry.‘Just turn on the TV,’ he saidI did as I was told and pushed the rubbery button with my finger.Only Fools and Horses.Naomi put her hand on my knee but I brushed it off.‘He doesn’t know.’Shut up.He looked over. ‘What did you just say?’Nothing.We sat in silence.I pushed my feet against the rough carpet, stroking the nylon fibres with my toes.‘Are you still feeling sick?’No.Shall we just go to bed?He sighed.‘Yeah, I suppose.’I pulled myself up from the sofa and walked towards the door.‘Are you going to just leave the television on?’ He asked.I pointed to Naomi who shrugged.He got up and picked up the remote control from the sofa and turned the television off. I walked up the stairs, feeling the bumpy wallpaper with my fingertips as it brushed under my skin.‘I do love you babe,’ he said.I looked down to see him standing at the bottom of the stairs.I love you too.He went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.Naomi came out of the living room and began picking at the wallpaper. ‘You’re weird’ she said.You’re weird.I heard him laughing from the kitchen.‘I’m pretty sure I’m not, babe.’I went into the bedroom and sat legs crossed on the stained linen.I took off my filthy socks and flung them at the door just missing him as he ducked out of the way.‘Oi.’Sorry.I put my fingers between my toes like a handshake.He took off his shirt.Do you mind shutting the door?He hung his head back and rolled his neck. Without moving his feet, he leaned across and tipped his body till he almost fell over. Landing on the handle it clicked shut.‘Okay?’Okay.I pulled down my knickers and climbed under the sheets. He came and lay beside me and kissed my neck and collarbones and ran his fingers through my hair.He moved his hand beneath the sheets and kissed me with his hands.I looked across and saw Naomi standing in the dark.His hands came to rest on my belly. He cradled it in his palms.‘My two favourite girls,’ he said. ‘She’s going to be beautiful, just like you.’I looked down at the big bulge that protruded from under his hand.You know what I’m going to call her?‘What?’ he whispered.Naomi.



Cambridge, United Kingdom

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A short story

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