life

All posts tagged life

Heatwave

Published June 22, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

Slow flowing blood boiling just like hot jam,
My legs are swollen and smelling of ham.
Sticky sweat coating me with salty brine,
Telling myself it’s going to be fine.
Internal organs cooking up a treat
Turning to a Full English in this heat.
I have no energy to try to speak,
My limbs are heavy and feeling so weak.
My make-up’s melting all down my face,
My lungs constrict like I’ve run a tough race.
I’m tetchy, snarly and starting to growl,
Factor fifty plastered on with a trowel.
Handfuls of ice cubes go into my bra,
The sanest idea I’ve had by far.
Hating happy people loving the sun,
I want it to rain and spoil all their fun.
With my red face looking like salami
It’s not a heatwave – it’s a heat tsunami.

Reasons why I like to live alone.

Published June 10, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

1. I can exhale belches so deep that they sound like echoes from the Grand Canyon, amplified via five hundred and fifty-five megaphones.

2. I can throw my head back and open my jaw wider than the Wookey Hole cave, to yawn flamboyantly, vacuuming in sixty-eight per cent of the room’s oxygen.

3. I can release my wind freely, while playing television theme tunes with my pliable buttocks. The A-Team is my most accomplished piece.

4. I can leave my legs unshaven. And as I don’t have a pet this is also therapeutic to stroke them while watching Emmerdale.

5. I can walk around nude, feeling totally free, without having to supply brain bleach to anyone.

6. I can dance in my underwear whenever I want to. I would dance nude but large boobs and gravity are dance saboteurs.

7. I can have a day without wearing make-up, without anyone thinking I’m ill, or dead. I can’t risk decapitation because I’m mistaken for a zombie.

8. I can also do the opposite, experiment with bright coloured make-up. I can spend the day resembling the result of a drag queen and geisha’s lusty liaison without scaring the bejesus out of anyone. Except maybe an unexpecting postman.

9. I can watch whatever I want on television. A sport free zone. A political free zone. A Top Gear free zone.

10. I can have good quality conversation with myself about conspiracy theories, ninja cats, and Spongebob Squarepants.

11. I can eat four jam doughnuts in a row, and leave my face covered with sugar for the whole time of consumption.

12. I can sing loudly and badly in the shower, and twerk in the shower without worrying about offending the ears or eyes of innocent bystanders.

13. I can snore like a grizzly bear and not annoy anyone. And I can get a good night’s sleep myself without having to listen to anyone else snore, breath, release gas, or sleep talk about their work colleague stealing their yogurt.

14. I can cry when I need to. Being an emotional person sometimes it’s therapeutic to just have a good cry and let it all out. This might freak a cohabiter out to suddenly burst into tears while dusting. Although dusting can reduce me to tears all by itself.

15. I can have quiet time when I need it. Sometimes I need to not have contact with fellow human beings – this is an overlap from being a cat in a previous life. I like to be left alone to eat and sleep and write/play with a cat nip stuffed mouse.

This is why I like to live alone.

Cinema Crimes

Published April 15, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

I love the cinema. If I won the lottery I would build my own mini cinema, for use only by myself, and maybe any friends that have cinema etiquette. Most people these days don’t have cinema etiquette and should stay at home and watch DVD’s. But they don’t. They filter into cinemas annoying those of us easily annoyed by the human species know as ‘totalious inconsiderous twatus’. There are four main crimes that the T.I.T.s are guilty of.

Personal space invaders: These are the people who, even though the cinema is three quarters empty, will sit directly behind or in front of you. Compete T.I.T.s will sit in the seat next to you. This happened to me yesterday. Partial blame was with the ticket sales lady who acted as an enabler to the T.I.T that sat next to me. When myself and my friend bought our tickets, and were asked where we wanted to sit, I gave the usual answer: at the back away, far from other people. Imagine my horror then, in the three hundred seat cinema, when there were only ten of us dotted around, a beige couple and hyperactive adolescent headed straight towards us. Yes, the sadistic ticket lady had seated them directly next to me. Now, any normal human being would have looked at me, hogging the arm rest and with a face like a homicidal hippo on crystal meth, and would have decided to sit in any of the remaining two hundred and ninety seats available. But no, these T.I.T.s were sticking to their allocated seats. I was speechless. My friend and I moved seats, I gave my best death stare. Their faces have been saved to the facial recognition software in my brain, and when the zombie apocalypse arrives, (putting on my best Liam Neeson voice) I will look for them, I will find them, and I will kill them.

Noisy eaters: Most films are an hour and a half or two hours tops. For Satan’s sake can people not go ninety to a hundred minute without stuffing their faces with food. But not just any food, noisy food. Nachos are not a good cinema food. Sitting in proximity to the replicated noise of a hamster annihilating an acre of Ryvita raises my blood pressure greatly. Suck your nachos, this will make you a better person. Actually, scrap that, all food should be banned. Because if you’re quietly devouring a hot dog I’m being distracted from the film by the smell of reconstituted meat and onions. Pick’n’mix may be acceptable if you tear along the paper bag before the film starts, so there’s not that annoying rustle every time a hand is dunked in and swooshed around. Why are people searching in their bags of pix’n’mix? They chose the sweets that are in there themselves, so just grab the first one you come to, it’s not going to be a complete surprise. What will be a complete surprise is when I track you down after the zombie apocalypse and ram twenty-six chocolate mice down your throat.

Mobile phone addicts: People, please turn your phones off before going into the cinema. Don’t be a T.I.T. You’ve paid money to watch a film, why do you want to miss chunks of it by checking your Facebook, emails, and Twitter feed. Watch the film, not your phone. Do you not realise that when you swipe your screen on, it’s like the Blackpool illuminations for people ten rows back and beyond, for everyone closer it’s like staring directly at an eclipse. And if you are sat within my eyesight range I will see your name as you browse your Facebook, and this will make tracking you down during the zombie apocalypse much easier for me.

Talkers: When I’m watching a film, I like to go into ‘cinema trance’ and get totally absorbed into the film. Having to listen to people talking about completely irrelevant drivel drains my patience. I don’t know your friends Adam and Laura, therefore I don’t care about or want to hear about Adam’s latest STD or Laura’s new juice plan diet. I certainly don’t want to hear this while I’m trying to transport myself into the film. And if you’ve brought someone to the cinema with you that needs the film plot explained to them in minute detail, is this not irritating for you? It’s blooming irritating for me, listening to: Who’s that? Why are they pressing that button? Why is she wearing a green dress? Just shut up and watch the fudging film, because when that zombie apocalypse happens, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you. Unless I’m too busy killing zombies. Or hiding. Or eating nachos and pick’n’mix in my private cinema, while checking my phone for Instagram zombie pics.

The Verdict

Published February 9, 2017 by Naomi Rettig

Leukemia, a word that sounds softer than cancer. Cancer sounds hard and abrupt, leukemia sounds more chilled out, like Bohemia. But the verdict of it still slams at you full force like a charging rhino. What do you do when you’ve just been told you have it? I went and sat in an empty church for an hour. I’m not religious, I just wanted to sit quietly somewhere. I needed time to compose myself before bumping into anyone I knew, I didn’t want to blurt it out to the first person who said hello to me. Someone’s innocent ‘Hi Tom, how are you?’ being met by a babbling mess of ‘Pretty shit, I’ve got leukemia.’ Nobody wants that answer to a rhetorical question.

I contemplated all the funerals that had taken place there in the peaceful sanctuary. Hundreds of bodies over the years being carried in and out via a wooden box, loved ones crying tears of goodbyes and guilt, sorrow and sentiments. This would be me soon.

Well, I say soon, between now and about five years, that seems soon now to me, too soon. That’s the estimate of my life expectancy. Science isn’t that accurate yet. Five years if I’m lucky, some fortunate people managed to drag out their existence by eight years. With medication, I might even make ten more years. Or I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. I assumed that I’d get to old age, stressing about pensions and whether I’d be able to afford my retirement barge on the canal. I know we’re not immortal, but when your life sentence is reduced, plans and thoughts crumble quickly. Just five more Christmases, five more birthdays, five more holidays. These bubbles of time are going to rapidly pop.

I sat in the cold church wishing I had a faith, maybe it would be easier to live with this death sentence if I believed a higher being was looking after my soul, or that I would be reunited with deceased family. Instead I know I will just simply die and everything will end. Game over. I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to laugh. Laugh at the irony, the irony of living with depression and fighting to stay alive every day, but wishing I could disappear, and now finding that my cosmic ordering has worked. I get my wish. But now I don’t want my wish. I want to send it back. I am ungrateful. There’s too much left for me to do.

I want to watch my son’s life unfold, see him enjoying life and having his own family. I want to have grandkids and be that fun Grandad everyone wants, a pocketful of sweets and a twinkle in my eye as I teach them poker and blackjack.  I want to laugh some more with my friends, grow old disgracefully with them. I want to explore the world, see beautiful sights across all continents, dip my toes in the oceans and seas. I want to watch more seasons of The Walking Dead.

I want to fall in love one more time, and feel that person’s love wrapped around me always. I want someone to hold me and know that I am their whole world. But that’s not going to happen, I’m going to die alone, I’d better get used to that and not wallow in a pity pool. I want someone to hold my hand as I take my final breaths. But that’s selfish isn’t it, I should be grateful I am single and therefore sparing someone that loves me the agony of watching me ebb away without them.

I haven’t told anyone yet. How do you tell people you’re a ticking time bomb? Do you tell people? My first instinct is to tell everyone. This is big news, I need to share, to get support, to get help making sense of it all. A Facebook status maybe, ‘Make the most of me, I’m not going to be here for much longer.’ Too dramatic? How about just simply ‘I’m dying.’ Too basic? After all, aren’t we all dying in various degrees? I’ve just moved up a few gears and I’m speeding along in the fast track lane. Typical, the only race I’m going to win is the death race.

If everyone knows I’m fast tracking death I’ll get sympathetic looks everywhere I go, do I really want people in my local Tesco’s looking at me thinking ‘oh that’s the man that’s dying, how sad’, and then carry on deciding what shade of toilet roll to buy. Do I just tell family? I have to tell my family. How do I do that? To see their faces try and grapple with emotion, to see their pain, to feel responsible for their grief. They need to prepare though, if you can ever prepare for someone you love dying. I’ve lost two people suddenly that I loved from heart attacks, I didn’t have chance to say goodbye or tell them I loved them. That haunts me. I don’t want anyone else to feel that.

There are too many emotions pin-balling around in my head. It’s like my brain doesn’t know what it should be feeling so it’s throwing everything out there, hoping the right one sticks in place. I’m going to just have to take each day as it comes. Find out what emotion my brain tries out each morning.

Today I woke up wanting to make the most of the day. I’m going out with Dave and some other work mates after our shift has finished, Murphy’s getting married so we’re off to celebrate his future. I’m going to have about six pints to celebrate mine. It’s worth celebrating. Some people have heart attacks or get hit by a bus, they’re gone instantly, I’m a lucky one getting notice to go. I can do my goodbyes and tie up my loose ends, closure. And if I’m really lucky a fiftieth party that will rock everyone’s socks off. And maybe their pants.

 

A Conversation With Myself When a Wasp Tangoed on my Face.

Published November 6, 2016 by Naomi Rettig

(Scene: sat on a bus, near the back, approximately 10 other passengers on board. Couple move from seat on my right to seats in front of me.)

Why have they moved?

I don’t know, maybe the sun was in their faces on that side.

Oh, yes, probably.

Oh no, there’s a wasp, they’ve moved from the wasp. It’s followed them though. They’ve brought the wasp over to our side!

Well if she stops waving her hands about it will go away.

They’re moving back now.

Good, the wasp is moving too.

Yay, it’s going down the front of the bus.

Can everyone stop waving their arms around, they’re making the wasp angry.

If it stings you, I bet you go into anaphylactic shock.

Don’t be a drama queen.

You’re allergic to penicillin, pet saliva and fur, feathers, and broad beans. And you have a swollen throat already because you’re ill. A sting from that wasp could make your throat swell, even a little more, and you could die.

You’re such an idiot.

It’s coming back up the bus!

Don’t panic. If I just keep still it won’t bother us. I’ll make myself invisible to the wasp.

You’re wearing the most floral blouse you have, and you’re wearing fleur de fig perfume, you couldn’t make yourself more attractive to the wasp unless you dressed as a female wasp.

Just keep still.

Christ it’s on the windowsill in front now. If it comes near us, you’ll have to kill it. No one else on the bus is going to. It’s the wasp or you. You decide.

What can I kill it with?

Your kindle is in your bag.

Don’t be stupid, there’s a note book in there too I can use.

Well slide your hand in and get it out ready. The wasp is getting closer. That’s it, nice and slowly.

I’m ready for it now. Where did it go?

I don’t know, we share the same eyes, I was looking in the bag with you. Everyone else is looking around for it too.

Maybe it went out the wind-ohhhh…IT’S ON MY FUCKING FACE!

Don’t swear!

It’s on my fucking face!

Follow your own advice, keep perfectly still, don’t make any sudden movements to scare it.

I’m not even breathing. It’s on my face. It’s doing a fudging tango on my cheek. I can feel its tippy-tappy feet. Bastard.

Keep calm. Don’t cry, your salty tears will only aggravate it.

I don’t think I can keep my silent screaming silent for much longer.

I can’t believe the man over there just told you to keep still because it’s on your face.

I know! Does he think I don’t know this! Fudge Womble!

Ooh.

Hallelujah!

You’ve got quicker reflexes than I thought.

That didn’t seem quick, that seemed to take forever to buzz from my cheek to the headrest in front.

Are you sure he’s dead?

When I whacked him, his head propelled two seats forward, I’m pretty sure he’s dead. Even if he was a zombie wasp, he’d be dead.

Did that lady really tut at you because you killed the wasp?

I think so yes.  Numpty nugget.

 

 

 

 

 

Megan’s Room

Published January 15, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

Megan lay in the bed, covered with a thin off-white sheet and a blue scratchy blanket so threadbare it was almost a trade description offence to call it a blanket. It was quite cold and the flimsy hospital gown didn’t offer much warmth either. If she had a bit more meat on her bones she wouldn’t feel the cold as much but advancing years had dissolved the fat and muscle from her.
She pressed her buzzer by the side of the bed to ask a nurse for another blanket, they wouldn’t rush to her, she could hear them talking inanely at the end of the ward about a holiday last year or the year before. The pinging of the fluorescent light flickering above Megan’s bed was temporarily drowned out by the sound of the patient on her left, Mrs Brown, chewing sloppily open-mouthed on whatever inappropriate food her family had dropped off half an hour ago just as visiting time was ending. Mrs Brown was diabetic yet her family kept feeding her chocolates and sweets. Mrs Brown never talked, she just chewed loudly or expelled wind.
Megan’s right ear was not spared disturbance either as Miss Nash had been violently coughing throughout the night and had still not dislodged whatever it was that was causing aggravation, she was trying her best to though as the sound of spitting phlegm into an echoing pan had been intermingled with the hacking cough.
Megan closed her eyes, tired of staring at the nurses’ station, where they had now turned her buzzer back to ‘off’ but were still debating Ibiza or Magaluf. Over the generic hospital smell, which reminded Megan of the fluid in her departed husband’s insulin injections, there was a pungent stench of disinfectant still lingering from an incident of vomiting from a lady opposite whose name Megan didn’t know. She’d only been brought in a few hours ago, a replacement for the lady who died in the night, Megan didn’t know her name either but she’d been lying there a few hours between discovery and removal, maybe the disinfectant was masking the odour of death as well as the vomit.
Clacking footsteps increasing in volume towards Megan’s bed made her open her eyes in time to see a nurse stopping at the end of her bed.
“What is it?” said the nurse, “What did you press for?”
“I’m getting a bit chilly love” said Megan, “Could I have another blanket please?”
“Do you really need one? Everyone else will want one if I get you one.” Said the nurse.
“Oh” said Megan glancing at Mrs Brown and Miss Nash, both looking blankly at her, “I’ll be ok then.”
The nurse plodded back down the ward without saying anymore. Megan stared at the cold metal bar at the side of her bed, left permanently up as she could not get out of her bed unaided, and tried to remember how many days her son had said she would be in there for.

Guillermo Brown

Published January 15, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

The church clock strikes eight, so those villagers who are awake know without checking that it is six. A cock crows. A body lies across the doorstep of the church, a line of crumb-carrying ants marches across the fedora covering its face. There is a serene, momentary quiet after the chimes cease before the silence is cracked by a baby crying.
Guillermo was always awake at six, his mother believed he heard the eight strikes of the clock and thinking it was eight he would exercise his small lungs as a fanfare to herald in the new day. She wished they would fix the church clock so she could gain two extra precious hours of sleep. Sleep was in scarce supply for Mrs Brown. Throughout the nights she was either restlessly stirring to check on baby Guillermo’s grizzling and persuading him to fall back asleep or listening to sounds outside of the window screen as indicators to her husband’s return.
Guillermo’s father Benito often stayed out all night, sleeping on the street after too much tequila rendered him unable to fulfill the final few footsteps home. Sometimes he wouldn’t even make it out of the bar before falling into a deep deathlike slumber. Very often he was found slumped on the steps of the church, a sinner seeking sanctuary or salvation, or both.