Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Phlegm

[Housekeeping - I've decided to write a bit more about stuff other than food. I will still be writing about food though. Please do not be alarmed]

I walk home on autopilot, as I do every day, past the myriad shops that barely make a dent on my consciousness. The school outfitters where my parents are forced to buy every purple piece of uniform that makes us the laughing-stock of the other pupils in the area, the newsagents that sells huge bags of broken sweets for 50p but take an eternity to serve, the chippy surrounded by a stifling haze of rancid fat - all of these blur as I quicken my step.

And as I walk, I slowly replay the day's events in my head. I think about my urge to stick my hand up, even as I feel everyone's eyes burn into the back of my neck. It doesn't matter how often they call me "bod", or "swot", or "teacher's pet" - it's like I have some kind of smart-alec Tourette's. And I sigh and I think at least the teachers like me (of course they don't).

I get to the traffic lights and I pause a while, as usual. As I watch the cars criss-cross in front of me, I hear a hawking, retching noise from the other direction. I wrinkle my noise in slight disgust, but the lights change and I forget about it as I trot on.

I'm on the red slate doorstep and I ring the bell, three times, as usual. My mother opens the door and walks off into the kitchen to get my tea ready. I bounce up the stairs, taking them two at a time, anxious to change out of my school clothes, the purple shackles.

It's only when I swing my rucksack onto my bed that I see it: a yellow-flecked slug of phlegm streaking all the way down the scuffed nylon. It glistens with viscous menace and somehow continues its mottled descent, and I stare at its progress, and I will it to go away.

Tears pricking my eyes, I pick up the rucksack, and empty its contents all over the floor. I yell to my mother, "I need a new bag!" as I push and shove the old one into my pedal-bin.

Then I crawl back down the stairs, shoulders slumped, infected.

16 comments:

  1. Aaw love. What a shitty day. And a shitty small-minded phlegm bomber. Arsehole.

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  2. Oh MiMi that's AWFUL. You must have been so upset. Poor love.

    So well written though.

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  3. I love it that you are going to write about "other fancies" too... xxx

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  4. Sad story (and one I can totally relate to) but I love your writing style, look forward to reading more of this kind of writing

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  5. Brave post MiMi, it's always hard to give a glimpse into yourself like that, in the raw (so to speak). And yet you've done it so well. It's beautifully written.

    As for the bastards who did that back in the day...well...just look what you've done and where you've got to. Best riposte ever.

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  6. @George@CulinaryTravels - Thank you George

    @Kavey - It still bothers me almost 20 years later that I don't know who it was.

    @The Ample Cook - Thank you Jan x

    @Leluu - You started a trend :) xxx

    @simonkimber - Were you a nerd too? Thanks x

    @TheGrubworm - Yeah, I might regret this. But thank you x

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  7. I like it! Beautiful.
    Other kids suck. Kids used to say to me "you lost the war" I was like "...?"

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  8. Oh Mimi, that makes me want to cry. What a tool that phlegm-harking bonehead was.

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  9. Beautifully written! I too look forward to more in this vein. Congratulations on making what was probably a slightly scary leap.

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  10. @Sasa - Thanks Sasa - also, how nasty of them :(

    @Signe - Aw, sorry x

    @Robyn - Thank you. Yes, very scary!

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  11. How beautifully written. I'm sure the phlegmy git got what they deserved.

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  12. Um, eeyew. Please don't take too long a break from posting about food! ;) Seriously, though, well written--I was in your footsteps the entire way! BTW did you know that Google email presented me with a stop smoking ad when it pushed me your post? Smoking . . . phlegm. I'll have to pay more attention to those!

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  13. A sad but well written tale MiMi. Take heart though, the said hawker probably met some unfortunate incident shortly afterwards. A seagull could have shat on their overly dense head or they may well have fallen down a lift shaft or something.

    Karma, baby, karma.

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  14. They threw tater tots at me when I was in high school!

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  15. @sakura - Thank you x

    @Donna Kusman - How odd!

    @Food Urchin - You're quite right :)

    @Cupcake Kelly - Harsh, though I'd rather be hit by a potato product when it comes down to it.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment!