The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 20

soil and as it grew he typed without pause and felt it flex and stretch beneath his hands and pick up bells and bones and tassles. The paragraphs multiplied. His body tingled. He could feel the beginnings of a voice, make it out in the distance maybe. It was like he was discovering all over again what it was to write. When the phone rang again he wanted to smash it. Hadn’t he turned the damn thing off? He pulled it from his pocket and poked at it cackhandedly, trying to cancel the call, but ended up answering it by mistake. ‘You need me.’ ‘Emily, for christ’s sake...’ The sound of rainfall told him she had left the bar. His right hand held the phone and his left hovered on the keyboard. ‘I’m your heart.’ ‘Listen, honey, it’s late, we...’ ‘I’m your well.’ ‘You’re definitely not well, Emily, no one doubts that,’ Saul responded instinctively. The cruelty of the remark resonated in the rainy silence at the other end of the phone. Independently wealthy from a design company she formed in her twenties and now abhorred, Emily had married and divorced four times in fifteen years. Psychiatric institutions blotched her life story like dead jellyfish. Acting w as the latest of a thousand fruitless pursuits; she sought sought sought but never found. Saul felt he was drawn to her because he valued judgements that came from a place of barbed wire and scars. ‘You and your breakthroughs,’ she said eventually. ‘You know you’re going to trash it tomorrow, Saul. How about I come round?’ ‘No. Emily. Not a good time. I’m...’ Digital clink. The line went dead. Saul put the phone down on the desk and took a deep breath. He took off his glasses, letting them dangle on his chest, then brushed his hair back behind his ears and pinched the bridge of his nose. He wouldn’t answer the intercom. The last time she came over like this she had smashed Evie’s porcelain pie dish on the kitchen floor. He stood up briskly. Walking to the window - it was really pounding outside - he pulled it down with both hands, enjoying the thud as window met frame and then the swish of the red curtain across it. With the lamp as it was the flat would look dark from the street below. She might think he’d gone out in order to avoid her and thus leave him in peace. He walked back to his desk, sat down, and picked up his phone. Holding down the power button he watched the life putter out of the previously brilliant screen. That was when the siren sounded in his mind. He glanced over what he had written. It was… He brushed his hair behind his ears and tried to block out what was coming. Tried not to remember the false starts of the previous weeks. Tried not to remember why, apart from those false starts, he hadn’t typed a line in a year and a half. Tried not to remember that he hated everything he had ever written. Emily you bitch. But it wasn’t her. Saul had learned through bitter experience to be wary of the kind of buoyancy he had been feeling tonight. Not only with this one. He tried to stop it but from deep in his liver the thought surged that it had been the same with every book he had ever written; a searing start during which he felt the Possibility of finally coaxing something meaningful, something true even, from that primordial gloop of zeroes and ones behind his computer screen. Then at some point - it had gotten sooner with each book - ambivalence would kick in, and by the end he would hate the book so much they had to pay a motivator to stay with him in the flat and make him finish it. They sold well, at least they used to, but in his heart Saul knew his books were pretentious bullshit. Not one of them adorned his shelves. But this one… this time… He scrolled up a page and knew he had been feeling nothing but