A character piece written in creative writing sessions at the Brain & Spinal Injury Centre at Salford. Originally appeared on Allpoetry.com . If you like what you see, Drop me a line and i’ll post P2
The Brief: I was set a task in my creative writing workshop – write as a member of the opposite sex!!! This is the result
A New Dawn for Francesca
Brian F Kirkham
The start of a new day always starts with music. In my case it was the sound of the local radio station from an over-enthusiastic alarm clock. My favourite station was playing tracks from the eighties and nineties – at half five in the morning. I retreated, briefly, to the solace of my pillowcase. There are times when I would like to throw the radio out of the nearest window, but not today.
I don’t want to be late today
Sunlight slowly peered through the closed curtains into the maze of small rooms that make up my upstairs flat. A train from the nearby station happily toots as it passes by in the distance. I look ahead from the bedroom and see the carnage in front of me – in the middle of the living space, sits an empty champagne bottle, languishing in a bucket of cold water that was once ice. Several champagne flutes are around the bucket, covered in various shades of lipstick, mostly red or pink. Above my head are balloons with the words “Well Done” and “Congratulations” on them – and they still maintain their helium content. The Floor is scattered with broken nibbles – and the wall is festooned with Polaroid Photographs. Lots of Polaroid Photographs.
Did that really happen?
Yes, it was quite a party last night.
And i’m paying for it now with interest. Last Nights playlist repeats in my head.
Now I know why my brother’s turned off drinking.
I lightly make my way towards the kitchenette in the right hand corner of the space. I pop two fizzy hangover tablets into some water and down them quickly. It is time for breakfast – buttered toast and egg – and coffee – two cups – espresso. Father always liked coffee in the morning – its truly horrible stuff – but I need something to wake me up, the hangover tablets haven’t kicked in yet.
I can’t fall asleep today.
My first look in a mirror since the night before, and I look quite a sight. The wash bag, make up and hairbrush lying by the side of the sink come to my rescue. I can’t be late today. I reach for the staff uniform that hangs precariously on the top edge of the wardrobe door… A green and blue tartan jacket, pleated tartan skirt, standard white blouse, green and blue neck dress, a bow in the same colours and sensible shoes.
I look at myself in the mirror as I sort my hair out, letting out a lonesome sigh, as I fiddle with the bow. I hate this. Furthermore, I hate Tartan! It’s like being back at School!!! I can hear the voice of one of the teaching sisters, Sister Michaela as I straighten the bow in my ponytail. The bow won’t lie straight, was this the girl destined for stardom at St Katherine’s school review?
A sharp intake of breath – and my head clears. The bow is now straight.
I take another deep breath, and a second look in the mirror, running a finger over my eyebrows…Sister Michaela’s voice echoes in my head.
“You’ve got to remember Francesca – it’s paying for your college tuition…You can’t get those BAFTAs without a little effort!”
I’d made the grade and was now an evening student at drama school. I’m Ready.
As I pick up the keys from the breakfast table to head for the door, I spot the solitary six sided steel nut just off the centre of it. There wasn’t anything special about it – It had come off my cycle as I was leaving the car park. All thanks to me trying to be the next British cycling sensation. What was that lad’s name again? – That lad who showed me round the building the other day from Accounts? Was it Martin or Mark?
Something like that…the caffeine hasn’t fully kicked in yet. He was a junior trainee, just like me – except he’d done six months. He Introduced me to everyone in the office that day from the security to the big boss, Mr Bridge. We had lunch together in the canteen, and he’d even helped me fix the wheel on that boneshaker I call a bicycle when I was heading home. He was a friendly face among the masses to the new kid in the office…and besides – i’m sure I heard from one of the other girls in the break room that he was single. Something might happen there, we’ll wait and see.
The bright lights of Drury Lane and Covent Garden can hold on for a while. The Bank lies ahead