Lamp-light

“You goin’ home to nothin’?”

Frank perceived Daisy. The unsettling flames of candle-light above them, illuminated her shell. Electrified her casing. She had a face you couldn’t put an age to, a face you couldn’t put a man to, a face which independently stood. Daisy was a lone woman.

Atypical. Avant-garde.

“What makes you think so? You think I haven’t got a man?” Daisy said. She spoke as if she stood for something, every individual term signalled declaration. Her fingernails coated crimson, her hands illegible to palm reader. An accent dissimilar in that neighbourhood.

Frank hadn’t heard a twang of British since 1923. The accent alone provoked irregularity; his heart jolted, becoming rhythmically inept.

Such memories had resided in the trenches; sealed and banished. Recalling such encounters sabotaged his strength. Mimicked his masculinity, furnished the fencing he’d imprisoned himself in.

“No, I think you been hurt.” Frank declared, his syntax hindered grammatically, motivated by both ale and accent. As the words fell out of his lips, dry of tobacco yet moist of meaningless kisses of girls he’d misplaced names of, Daisy swallowed and blinked. Her throat began to puncture, unable to nourish her. Her pupils blurred.

Daisy was petite yet rounded, helpless yet durable, alone yet encircled. Each of her characteristics opposed. She was a distinction from every woman Frank had ever seen. She stood for something. She was worthy of every man who fell in love with her.

“I’m not going home,” Daisy stated, as if disappointed in herself. A caricature of her father’s former judgements. “I haven’t got one.”

“I ain’t got a lover,” Frank mumbled, as if residence and romance were interlinked. As he said so, roots of jazz intertwined with the wind, agitating their skin. A breeze of the January mist; descents from the bar across the track.

Daisy was pleasantly surprised, uncertain if embarrassment or the chill of the air was what flushed her cheeks. She tucked a ringlet of blonde behind her ear, revealing sharp cheekbones and a curve of her lips. This was the first time Daisy had been noticeably exposed to a man since she was left behind, stood in the doorway the previous summer.

“Isn’t it getting late?”

“It only ‘alf one,”

“Do you not have a job?”

“Fired this mornin’.’”

“Oh,”

“Ye’, it weren’t much of a job but it paid the bills, ya know?”

“I’m not really working myself. Well, besides singing in the bar on occasional Thursday nights, to drunks,”

Daisy was different. It wasn’t just her accent that made it so. Uncomfortably conspicuous, she differed to others. She didn’t perceive him inadequate or consider herself any higher being. Instead, she examined him with curiosity, not disappointment, as if every syllable he sounded meant something. Her eyes, iridescent and concentrating under the lucent beacon.

“Dad?”

A male stood, lonesome. The street lamp beamed with memory; radiated the past.

Not that he could distinguish the two.

“Dad?”

A breeze wafted. The beckoning of colour came back to him, the kaleidoscope of jazz bar candlelight flickers.

Autumn.

Leaves bathed him, stripped him, the crunching mirrored the scratching of a record player. The laughter of young children, mimicking the trombone. His foot tapped.

The outline of blonde hair. Her jawline. It was colder than he thought, he was only wearing a light-weight suit jacket when he left the house.

“Daisy’s a pretty name,” Frank acknowledged, looking towards the floor.

“Dad,”

The blonde woman shook him gently. Her eyes were darker than he’d remembered. She was recognisable, yet different too.

“Daisy,” Frank panted, his eyes in panic. “I’ve been lookin’ for you darlin’, where were you?”

I’ve been looking for so long. I thought I’d lost you again.

Tears brimmed against pupils, like foggy glasses. I’ve finally found her.

“Come on Dad, let’s go and sit down.”

Recognition began. The disruption of imagination, as if awakening, recovering from some obscure parallelism.

“Where has she gone?”

He blinked frantically, the hairs on his arms risen, as if his blood were wired up to electric mains.

Where is she –

I thought she’d at least say goodbye

 

Daisy, stop wandering off

 

Frank grasped her, in a possessive embrace. Tears spilled down his cheeks, creased and bruised with the clinging to former youth. His memory tinted with uncertainty. Anger flooded his actions, he shook her back and forth, back and forth back and –

Aggressive.

 

“BRING HER BACK.”

BRING HER BACK DON’T LET HER LEAVE ME AGAIN STOP

STOPPPPPPPPPPPP

 

de·men·tia?

[dih-men-shuh, -shee-uh]

noun Psychiatry.

severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss of or damage to neurons in the brain.

 

———-

 

Beep

Beep

Beep

 

The walls were a frosted casing, restoring hopeful recollection. His head had misplaced that consistent pounding. Now, it was silent. The entirety of the room was soundless. His left side pillow, empty. At least that part was familiar.

The flickering of his eyelids felt subconscious and involuntary. Detecting presence before it were visibly exposed.

A silhouette. Blonde curls, immaculately sculpted. Lips, moulded like cherries. Dimples rising to compliment the apples of her cheeks. Her palm on top of his. Little colour was visible nor beneficial to his gaze, yet there she sat.

 

“Isn’t it getting late?”

“It only ‘alf one,”

“Do you not have a job?”

“Fired this mornin’.’”

“Oh,”

A smile played upon her dimples. A palm, wine painted nails, took his hand. Shook.

“I’m Daisy, by the way.”

“Frank,” he chuckled.

“I expect we’ll be seeing more of each other Frank.”

 

“I’d very much like that.”

 

 

 

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