A Snapshot

by Luke Otley

I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe the cheek- I know. I know.

I know.

Sarah, you won’t believe it, if I told you you simply could not believe it /beginning to raise her voice/ and I swear, I feel violated I…I

Just tell me exactly how it started

I’m coming home from work, and I know he’s meant to be staying here, but I thought ‘he’s a friend of Liam’s, so just give him a chance’ because I’m a liberal person, I’m accepting – Yeah, uhuh – So I get home and what do I see – what? – a fuckin’ huge van right in my driveway leaking oil all over the place /pauses for effect/ – No-o way – Yep, I mean the real deal; no hubcaps, pillowcases up against the windows, books all over the dash, I swear I even saw dirty plates in there – Jesus – Okay so this has just set me up like really got my blood boiling already but I compose myself, all smiles. I get through the door, tensed and ready to greet one of them and what do I see? Three! / voice raised to a metal tea kettle squeal / – Unbel- I know right so for a second I’m taken aback, like, uh he-elo? And this one kind of shifts his feet like shit wouldn’t melt in his mouth before Matt introduces them. They’re friends of his and they actually live in that thing outside! So I say to myself ‘buckle up baby this is going to be a bumpy ride’ and show my teeth to them, show them the whites of my teeth and the whites of my eyes so they know who’s boss around here – Of course – Anyway, I’m on my phone messaging Liam because he is going to get it when I see him at tennis and Matt is running my fuckin’ ear off about something unimportant India or something I dunno – ha ha – and I’m barely listening when I spot it – what?- A wet towel on my carpet. / And the thought of this memory even now months later it seems too much for her, she can feel the rage bubbling upwards threatening to wet her eyes and loosen her throat to a terrible scream / A wet towel are you KIDDING me! Been here two minutes and look what he’s done to the place! So, still ignoring Matt and his yadeyadeda I climbed a mountain whogivesashit but responding in grunts and nods because I will always give people common decency I’m like that – Yeah, yup – I go to pick up the towel. And ho-oly Father in heaven the smell. It made me want to retch! One of these filthy urchins, these dogs these these / Her knuckles white with a brittle grip her frame shuddering / I honestly…on my cream carpet! So very calmly I place it outside all the while messaging Liam like : “These idiot friends of yours these pig idiots this is what happens this is what happens” but you can understand? – Of course, I would have done the same thing – But my patience does know bounds and I finally spit out at Matt saying we all have to pull our weight if we’re going to get along and I can see him and his friends his pig idiot friends glancing to each other like I’m friggin’ mental but I’ve got my eyes on my phone I won’t have it I just keep my eyes on my phone and I get out of there. – Unbelieveable, absolutely indignant – It’s like at work, the Maori girl that works there is so lazy so inherently lazy it’s the same principle these extended adolescents want to live in a van and eat beans from a can whatever I don’t care but don’t bring that hippy shit to me and my life don’t get me involved / Why did Liam leave her everything was perfect everything had it’s place but she mustn’t tell Sarah that she must… /

/The conversation ended, rang short by the arm of the clock making its way around to six, signalling the end of lunch. She flicked the butt of her cigarette onto the pavement and exhaled the last string of smoke into the air. She turned back into the building, where she would wrestle with the remains of the workday until such a time as she could be at home, in her cold, tidy apartment/