Skip to content

Alison Marr

Flash fiction, poetry and other musings.

Ennui after Walter Sickert

January 15, 2020 | Fiction

So it comes to this: second floor, two rooms, me and Tubby. Outside it is nearly dark, Camden gritty with coal smoke and a fog rolling over London from the stinking river; the house rattles from the trains. Tubby’s all right – he’s got his pipe and beer and a whole jug waiting in the cupboard. Nothing for me of course, not even a suggestion of port or a glass of gin. I am going quietly mad. I hate beer and I hate Sundays. At least the church bells have stopped their aggressive pieties. He’ll try and have me again if I don’t get out. I can see it in his smug face and piggy eyes. Oh he likes to get his insistent old leg over me on a Sunday. Sundays get him randy, the old goat. How he smokes in that sucking satisfied way like he is ruminating, thinking high thoughts but he is sucking the air out of me. The smoke is so thick in and out. There is no marking of day to night, just this gloom; it comes under the door smelling of sulphur. I feel as trapped as the stuffed birds under the glass dome and when I turn my head I see a star, a painting of a Diva with a rich life of song and passion. And I despair.