WISH IN ONE HAND, SHIT IN THE OTHER
Ellie Barrett, Inga Lineviciute, Jade Annaw and Paula Kolar | Text by Kyle Brown
Open: 17th January – 14th February 2019 | Open event: Thursday 17th January, 5-7pm
Artist talks: Inga Lineviciute and Ellie Barrett – Thursday 17th January, 4-5pm
This exhibition does not have an artist statement. Instead, here is a short standalone fiction written by Kyle Brown.
Salving Open Wounds
Last night’s lasagne set like stone on the plates and cutlery and casserole dish, there, towering above the stagnant, cold water in the sink with soapy, congealed oil and fat and food remnants floating-still. This morning’s cereal-soiled bowls and coffee cups on the draining board slowly coagulating, also. The house was quiet, clean and tidy, bar the kitchen, which Sandra had planned to do last, and now stood in with aching arms and legs and a feeling rising from her throat all the way up to behind her forehead. The radiator gurgled and gulped, needing bleeding, and barefoot with cold feet, in jeans and white shirt half-buttoned and untucked, dressed for chores, the house’s random noises taunted her. She had spent the day picking up dirty laundry, making beds, scrubbing out juice and dirt stains from the carpet, finding more food-encrusted flatware in the den; generally attempting to make the place look presentable and respectable, as if it was a place to be proud of.
In years gone by, Sandra thought she’d had more of a social life, or at least socialised more, and had lost friends who moved or whom sided with her ex-husband during and after the divorce, and her mother had passed away a few years ago, and her father also about a decade ago. But she got the children; her beautiful, intelligent, often-slovenly-but-generally-wonderful children. However, today, she was alone.
There was nothing wrong with having a well-earned drink in the afternoon, she had thought, a while ago, possibly coming on two years ago. And, but, anyway, she had earned it, all of the day’s to-dos had been done and there was a glass-worth of chardonnay in the bottle in the fridge and some trash daytime TV for her to just sit back and relax for thirty minutes before walking to the primary school less than ten minutes away to pick up the kids. Over the following weeks and months this became less of an oh, should I? Yes, I deserve just the one and more part of her daily routine. One became two and wine became gin, etc., and now, today, she had donned her socks, shoes, and coat and was on her way to The Crown, a pub two short blocks down the autumnal Manchester Road, phone and credit card and keys in hand.
‘Hi, what can I get for you?’ the beautiful, couldn’t be more than nineteen year’s old, bartender asked Sandra.
‘Gin and Tonic, please. Double. Thanks,’ she ordered, and sat at the bar by the nameless regulars who knew one another by face, voice, and drink.
A’right, Afternoon, I’yer, etc., as all the barflies greeted one another. All of them deserving of their drinks, having earned them, having got through the day’s chores. And one deserving pint or glass of whatever became two, three, more. Tongues loosened and, as if ritually, familiar bonds reformed, and conversations regurgitated. The slurring philosophies of lives long-lived affirm one another’s vice-like-grip held beliefs that these people deserved their spirits, that the world didn’t know the long and broken glass-strewn road they had walked for all these years. And how the pretty young thing behind the bar will one day learn and know what life is really like.
A phone started ringing, everyone looked at everyone else. The ringing continued.
‘Fucking answer it, then,’ yawped the ruddy-faced man with clubbed fingers, nursing a stout.
Sandra, now three double G&Ts down, looking around through docile eyes, idly checked her phone, which had been sat screen down on the bar since she arrived. It was ringing. ‘Georgina <3’ lit up the screen.
‘Hey, sweetheart, everything okay?’
‘Mum…where are you?’
‘Oh, I’m just at home. What’s the matter, is everything okay?’
‘It’s nearly four-thirty…are you not picking us up? We’ve been waiting outside school for ages.’
The penny dropped. She had forgotten to pick her children up from school; How much had I drunk? Can I drive? Maybe?
‘Shit,’ her thoughts knotted up, ‘Sorry, sweetheart, I’ve been really busy with the house, I lost track of time.’
‘Mum, have you been drinking?’
‘What? No, no, no.’ How could she know? Did I sound drunk? Was I slurring my words or something? Sandra didn’t think so. ‘I’ve just been really, really busy. I told you. I’ll come as soon as I can.’
‘Yeah, you’ve been drinking, I can hear it in your voice.’
‘I haven’t, I promise.’
‘Just forget it, we’ll walk home. Bye.’
The call ended.
Shit, shit, shit, she thought, what had I done? What was I going to do? And then another penny; They were going to walk home? Oh, no. It’s not safe. It’ll be dark soon, anything could happen. Oh, fuck. She clutched her belongings and exited the pub on to the street. In the approaching November evening, Sandra stood in the melee of inebriated thoughts of panic and guilt and torment. Frozen.