Lovers’ Lane

by Fiona Glass

They were in the back seat snogging hard and the windows were steaming up. Janine had been waiting for this all week; she hadn’t seen Chris since Friday and the desperation was starting to show. Bloody work, he’d said. Late nights crouched over an in-tray filled with files seemed like a poor substitute for her charms, but she’d learned over the months not to say a word. Put a bloody sock in it, Janine. Don’t argue, or he’ll walk away.

She glanced out of a mist-free patch of window. It was hardly her ideal of a romantic setting: a grotty multi-storey at the wrong end of town. Stained concrete walls, floor littered with empty cans and last night’s takeaway, six broken lights and one that flickered on – off – on – off until she could scream. Before long the winos would be gathering downstairs, and if she wasn’t careful they’d get locked in all night with the graffiti artists and the local alley cats their only friends. But between his wife and her Mum, they had nowhere else to go.

Right now she had other things on her mind. A whole week without seeing Chris; a whole week without his presence inside her, driving her on to ever higher peaks. A whole bloody boring lonely depressing bloody week. A week when he went home to his bloody wife every night, and ate her food and slept in her bed with a twee patchwork quilt on his legs. Janine had been good and hadn’t phoned to nag him once, and this was her reward. Scrunched into a corner of the Mondeo’s back seat with her knickers round her ankles and Chris’s fingers working hard.

She closed her eyes, tried to relax, but Chris had seen her looking outside the car. “What’s up? Nobody out there is there? Bloody hell….”

“No, nobody. It’s fine. Don’t stop!”

She pulled his head back towards her chest but not soon enough. His gaze fixed on something on the car park floor, past the spent fag ends, past the puddle of beer. She’d already seen it, smelled it, but hadn’t said. Keep it to yourself girl, don’t say a word or he’ll walk away. Then it’ll be another bloody week before you see him again.

Too late. “God, that’s disgusting – someone’s been sick over there.”

Their ardour cooled. Janine untwisted her knickers, straightened out her blouse, reached for her handbag to reapply lipstick and comb her hair. Chris had already zipped himself, lips crimping with distaste, and she knew when she was licked.

Another bloody week, she wanted to scream at him, scream and beat with her hands on his useless uptight chest. All she said was, “I’ll see you Friday, then?”

“Yeah, next Friday, usual time, usual place. But I’ll have to find us somewhere else to go. Round the back of the cattle market might do.”

Janine saw them at it amidst corrugated tin sheds and mile-high piles of manure. Who said romance wasn’t dead? “Actually I might be doing something next Friday. With Shirley. We said we’d go for a drink.”

Don’t argue, she’d always told herself. Put a sock in it or he’ll walk away. But enough was enough. She opened the car door, cat-stepped over the spilled beer and vomit, and walked away.

Fiona Glass writes darkly humorous fiction from a pointy house in Birmingham. You can find more of her work online at http://www.fiona-glass.com.

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  1. #1 by Teresa Stenson on July 3, 2009 - 7:58 pm

    I really like this. Reminds me of a film I just saw, ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ – well, an aspect of that film – there’s a character who’s seeing a married man and there’s that excact same paranoia that if she talks about anything remotely serious or to do with the their affair, he starts to look like he’ll walk away and she just panics and says, “it’s okay, I’ll stop”.

    For some reason this felt like it was set in 1960s, in my mind. Maybe all the “bloodys”. A well painted scene.

  2. #2 by fiona on July 4, 2009 - 4:14 pm

    nice twist, that she physically walks away at the end while she has been worrying that he will metaphorically walk away all the way through, the tables have been turned and she is no longer the bit on the side but her own woman, we like her more in the final sentance than at any point before. good writing that evokes a response in the reader.

  3. #3 by Rebecca Stonehill on July 30, 2009 - 1:01 pm

    Great Fiona – so sordid! But ultimately so satisfying that she realises what she’s been reduced to for all this time and can turn her back on it.

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