Married? Barely. To her own op-shop brand of boyfriend. Hunkered down in a grit-dust apartment with crystals in the bed. A bra tangled artfully around a broken comb, arranged on a book of poems no publisher would see. There’s a cat somewhere, dragging life through the stale rooms. White hair, a 60s carpet that comes away when scratched with idle fingernails digging for a gauze. Glamorise the dirt, darling. Wait till you’re 40 and the dim light and smoked mirrors have left you, Instagrammed out, with the awkward orphan escaping as the fridge door opens. Do we have any eggs, he’ll say. And you’ll feel empty.
When I wrote this, I thought it was about a writer I admire called Rachel R. White, but it was actually about me and how I have always over-glamorised the Dostoyevskian/Nabokovian/Chekhovian/RUSSIAN beauty of desolation.
It was clearly (in retrospect) a 'Pull your socks up kid, you ain't no broken princess' lecture to myself hidden behind a sarcastic literary diatribe. Aiming my bitter pretension at someone else. Or maybe even imagining I was her?