By Vikki Wakefield
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Additional info for All I Ever Wanted
So much for parallel lives. ’ ‘Nah,’ she says, but I know when she’s lying. ‘Was it okay? ’ ‘It was fine. Honest. Anyway, I have to go. ’ Great. At home with my mother on a Saturday night. ’ I ask, because I’m a romantic. She snorts. ’ ‘Warm-up stretches first,’ I tell her as she leaves. FOUR In the morning, Mum and the baby are gone. The eight o’clock train wakes me most Sundays, but usually I can slide back into sleep. I’m surprised that I’ve slept at all after climbing into bed with a churning stomach and a fizzing brain, like I had too many energy drinks.
Out by the wetlands. ’ I imagine it. Sticky fumblings in the back of a Subaru, a haze of vampire mozzies that rise up from the stinking bog, fogged windows, the boom of bass. I wanted something more for her. I wanted her to want something more. ‘I can’t believe you did that,’ I say. She lets her jaw hang for a moment, then she moves on to that prissy frown thing she does when she’s really pissed off. She twists the ends of her hair extensions. ‘It was no big deal, Mim. ’ ‘You promised. ’ She bites her lower lip and pulls at a clump of mascara sticking to her lashes.
I feel a twang of guilt. Just a little one. I shuffle through the mail and find a letter addressed to the house next door. M. Hale. Our ghostly neighbour. I wonder what the initial stands for. Lola isn’t her real name, but I have to call her something. I know about most of our neighbours. We’ve lived here nearly all my life. The house next to us on the other side has been empty for a year and a faded condemnation order is stuck to the door. There are single mothers with kids in plague proportions and cars that don’t run; ancients that dodder about like empty husks with their Zimmer frames and their predictable routines; families like us whose kids have grown up and moved out, but not away.
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield