In a place built on order. Where light knows no bounds. Where eyes are always watching. Where cameras are always recording. Where noise is often prohibited. Nights in county jail are busy. Full of sounds, smells, and unexpected bumps.
What strikes me most is the blending of day and night. As the rest of the county sleeps, eyes are always open here.
I try to follow her lesson, story, conversation or occasional remonstration but it’s easy to become distracted. My Father left soon after he first clapped eyes on me. I rarely see anyone but my Mother. Indeed, everything I know about the outside world comes from her teachings. She says, ‘Henry. You're the apple of my eye.’
The end came with the bread. I had lived in the flat for three years, and I had grown accustomed to its various threats against my person. The ever shifting ink blot of black mould that resisted even the harshest chemicals. The cold air that blew through the widening cracks in the plaster. The soft buzz of the fusebox, audible as soon as I stepped into the bedroom from the street.
The hideout was for watching animals which is what he had been trying to do the first night that he saw her. She had stepped into the cove, his cove, shed some sparks around from a sparkler and then carefully removed a metal box from her bag.
Time is frozen, again. It is 8pm & the sun is shining through the open door onto the stove top & the wooden wall. The stairs are lit through the window. It is quiet here, a snapshot of tender. A still fire covering every inch of cold tile with dark orange peels.