"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Sunday, 17 October 2010

60. Three Cars in the Driveway


"There was a shadowy movement of a door, a dark figure appearing in amongst the grey and brown banks of ill-lit night, at first hunched as it alighted from the car, then fully upright as it moved forward towards the glare of the car's headlights. Then a moment that shifted speedily: the figure's black silhouette moved into the white light that then washed it clean of its shadows and a vaguely familiar face moved towards me where I sat in my car, motionless and frail"

First car: mine.

Second car: Psychic Psusan's. I presumed. It was a red, prissy affair that caught my eye, and I think it registered with me as I ran towards my own car because of its brightness in the recently-fallen darkness, and because I hadn't noticed that she'd had a car when she first appeared at my front door. Yet with my mind so full of desperation to flee Mordan House, there was little more that I cared to acknowledge about the sight of this second car in my driveway.

And a third car. This one I had to acknowledge more than that of Psychic Psusan's, standing as it did between the driveway and the main road, blocking my only exit from Mordan House. When I saw it, I slammed on my breaks, a pulse throbbing and aching in my neck.

There is a certain point when bright headlights hit you unexpectedly, where you feel, in that moment of shock, that the glare has opened you up, piereced you and cleaved you open from surface to soul. Helpless and exposed, you are momentarily disarmed. 

Lost in the vulnerability of that moment, all that was really in my mind was that the person I least wanted to see - and the person I trusted the least - was again in my driveway, and at a time when I least wanted to encounter her. She had been there when I'd fallen down the side of The Clansman and lay in a soaking wet heap; she'd been there when I'd been rummaging in a bin for a hat; when I slept in my car on a suburban street, it had been her house that I was infront of; and when I ran out of the trees, slightly drunk, and with a ghostly apparition in pursuit of me. Always there. Always when I was entirely exposed, when I was needy and showing my underlying damage. And here again, I thought, was that selfsame bitch, ready to survey me while at my weakest. Mrs Ormsley.

There was a shadowy movement of a door, a dark figure appearing in amongst the grey and brown banks of ill-lit night, at first hunched as it alighted from the car, then fully upright as it moved forward towards the glare of the car's headlights. Then a moment that shifted speedily: the figure's black silhouette moved into the white light that then washed it clean of its shadows and a vaguely familiar face moved towards me where I sat in my car, motionless and frail.

Not her. No. Someone else. But who? Familiar, yes. Somewhat. Then a moment of recognition came to me. A hand moved over to the switch for the electric window and the act of pressing it pained me in my weakened state.

"Still alive, eh?" said the male voice.

"I'm not staying anymore. I'm leaving. I've had enough. Move your car."

"But we have a deal. I need you to stay. At least for a little while longer. I've got a little job for you," said Mr McKay, the owner of Mordan House and, technically-speaking, my employer.

"Not her. No. Someone else. But who? Familiar, yes. Somewhat. Then a moment of recognition came to me. A hand moved over to the switch for the electric window and the act of pressing it pained me in my weakened state"

Before me, the intrusive glare of the headlights remained. Not once flinching as they surveyed every corner of me. Such are the locks and chains of this world and of every life, I thought. The apparatus of confinement hidden within circumstances, atmospheres, places. Every artefact of the world, every event, every commitment, every obsession, trapping us. From the moment I arrived in Mordan House I have been confined. I am not free and I have not been free for such a very long time. Why have I not before looked for the surveillance cameras that must be concealed somewhere, filming my every move in this prison? They must be somewhere. And no doubt somewhere there is a person watching the rushes as another edits 'The Astronaut Dropped', and another drafts the script, firing on scenes to an actress somewhere who imagines herself recreating me on a set somewhere, or on some location.

I was not free to say 'no' to Mr McKay. I was not free to move until someone told me to do so. The glare of the car's headlights saw all of me and I waited for the unknown director to call "Action!" from within the neverending, impenetrable shadows on the other side of the light.

Next instalment: 61. Astronauts and Actresses - Prelude

1 comment:

Claire Marie said...

Hello!
I know it's been a while since I've commented on your blog (apologies!), but I just had to say that I love reading it, and really like this post in particular. You write so well!

Claire Marie x
http://tea-breaks.blogspot.com