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At the table the boy of about sixteen and the girl of similar age sit without expression. They each have by their side a suitcase. The boy has the address of a Camden squat tucked in his jeans. Under the table they hold hands tightly. Again, the voices. First, the man: “Why would you want to live in a shithole like that? I don’t get it.” And then the girl: “To see the world.” “I’ll tell you right now, the world is not a nice place. Not an easy place. I’ve been in it a lot longer than you.” In the street outside a taxi sounds its horn. The boy and the girl shuffle their feet. “You’ll get yourself beaten up. Stabbed, probably. Left half-dead for the change in your pocket. Kicked in the gutter. And don’t think that waste of space will protect you.” “Why do you say these things? Are they meant to make me stay?” “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “I’m an adult.” “You’ve a lot to learn.” “Am I not allowed to have feelings? Am I not allowed to be in love?” “Does it put food on the table? Does it pay the rent?” Again, the taxi outside. The boy and girl stand. The man turns his back. The woman stays silent, puts her hand to her lips. “I’ll write. At Christmas –” “Don’t bother.” You leave them to it. You walk upstairs. You go to the larger of two bedrooms. It is separated from the world outside by thick orange curtains and it smells of antiseptic and something chemical and sweet. The air slowed down some time ago, and it is all very still, and it is all very hot. In the bed a figure lies twisted by illness. He is vastly reduced and broken. Bones push out where they should not. His dry discoloured skin reminds you of a rag left out in the sun. His eyes roll unfixed in his head and you cannot tell if he is in there or if he is elsewhere in the room, floating along beside the discoloured wallpaper, gazing down from the ceiling. Sometimes he shivers in the heat and the pain. Sometimes he jumps suddenly. The woman who used to be middle-aged lowers a needle carefully onto a record. It crackles and scratches and then it draws into the room a softly played piano. A random classical recording left as a soothing suggestion by the district nurse. Its opening note eases elegantly from the tinny speaker like the first fall of rain in a drought. Others follow, soaring and sailing and rolling along and peaking steadily before tumbling back down. She sits by the window and drifts into another world. It has been such a

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Profile for Structo Magazine

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Structo issue 10  

Our tenth issue features—by accident, honestly—ten short stories, ten poems, two interviews (author Evie Wyld and poet/translator/author/edi...

Profile for structo
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