The potent stench of her Poison perfume was overpowering as I entered her flat, and I had an urge to vomit as I walked into her lounge, which was decorated in vile, velvet, purple flock wallpaper. The black sofas, dressed in red funky cushions, were in my opinion vulgar, the whole colour scheme had quite a heady effect on me and I had to fight against the urge to walk out and shut the door forever.
It was ironic to be honest, she haunted me whilst she was alive — I couldn’t stand listening to her boast about the countless men she had manipulated. She would delight in telling me and her coarse, croaky voice would slow down and emphasise her sleazy vocabulary. Her eyes would come alive as the excitement took over her like an invasive fire. And in the same way, she was now haunting me in her death, her odours and crap flamboyant décor was stifling.
I sat down and closed my eyes for a few minutes but it didn’t erase the ugliness. Memories of shame emerged as I recalled the police car pulled up to our house in Green Street, it’s blue flashing lights screamed ‘look at me’, and the neighbours curtains twitched as the shadows of the occupants escaped onto the streets. For days the embarrassment forced me to look down at the floor, I was twelve years old and capable of recognising right from wrong. So at the age of 29 so was she, she was selfish and couldn’t care less and she continued to act like that throughout my life.
Rather than embrace my malicious past I stood up and walked into the kitchen. Tea stains and dried scabs of sugar covered the work surfaces, and a wilted plant sat sadly on the windowsill. Nail varnishes and lipsticks were the only residents of the fruit bowel and a stack of paperwork was scattered on top of the microwave. The kitchen looked tired and worn with the yellow splashes of grease that coated the rear wall; perhaps they would be offered a new lease of life with the new tenants.
This wasn’t a home. No care or love had been channelled into the flat, it was lifeless. It was somewhere to drink, smoke cannabis, and entertain her so-called friends. If she had a win at the bingo, she would have a party, and waste every last penny. I was never invited of course, but I would get the phone call telling me she was in A&E because of a drunken fall, or as a result of a drink-fuelled fight. I would arrive at the hospital and her blood-shot eyes and stagnant smokey breath would tell me better than her feeble words, the cause for her injuries. I would shake and nod my head in order to answer and acknowledge the doctors questions and instructions and then bring her back here to sleep it off.