by Valerie O’Riordan
She sat in her car outside the school, drumming her hand on the steering wheel and chewing the inside of her cheek. She picked and picked at the hem of her skirt; her boots, tasteful in the house, were dreadful in the car, and the expanse of the carpark was clearly far too large to negotiate. The buildings had shrunk and were the worse for it; even in the car, claustrophobic and daubed with dog-hairs and crumbs, she could feel ceilings pressing down and walls shoving into her, blackboard dust choking her tightening lungs. Over at the bicycle shed, still visible in the fading summer light, one lonely wheel was tethered to the wall below fading graffiti that insisted that Johnno and Sarah were 2gethR 4ever, after all these years. Susan watched the corner of the shed, where amongst dying fag ends she could see shoes and legs, crossed and splayed, all couldn’t-care-less in the evening sun; tendrils of smoke gave the game away, but nobody came screaming over to bring the delinquents to justice – not in my day, muttered Susan. She wondered if she ought to risk a dramatic high-speed getaway, and revved the engine, speculatively.
Valerie O’Riordan lives in Birmingham and has had bits and pieces pubished on Six Sentences and Wufniks; she can be found shamlessly self-promoting here.