I chase the chicken across the still, dank moor. I grip the spear tightly with my right, my left clenches my Nokia. I’m waiting, I’m always waiting to hear your voice, but the fowl, the poultry is fleeing. She waits for no one, no calls. I chase the chicken.
She said five words, she spoke clearly yet I refused to listen. I refused to do anything but stare. I stared across the bay, looking over the top of huts, sodden and rotted but with a hint, with a trace, of some former glory. They stood garish and with age decayed. Beyond this and beyond them my eyes met the skyline, the horizon. Bring me a boat, a raft, a galley, a pedalo, bring me anything, I thought, but get me out of here, away from her and her endless complaints.
Just one large chicken and a belly to fill. I’m Ray Mears-ing it tonight, building a grill fit for a bear, dressing it bare and placing chicken down for a light sear. The phone rings, my hand shakes, the other stiffens, I throw the spear.
I sought the beach, the sand; I wished to bury myself in that sodden, damp ground. I yearned to dig a hole as I had done as a boy, beneath a burning sun. The sun was not there; we sat under darkened skies and tasted the misery of rain.
The chicken’s dead, I wipe the blood from its breast then wash it and cover it with bread crumbs. Off the feathers come. Your voice on the phone ‘are you eating well?’. No, I’m eating Will, the chicken you bought me, I slaughtered and sautéed her.
I long to hold a spade again, to retreat in to the earth, and not hear those words, that question, ‘do you still love me?’.