Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bleddyn Gway

and again with the prose...

Bleddyn dropped his bags on the top step and looked up at the gutted factory building in front of him. Red Welsh brick, built by Welsh working hands. The stench of the bay swept passed him in gusts, reminding him how much he utterly despised the sea. How much he despised brick. And clocks.

The building had been remodeled to accommodate a collage of colorful low-income renters—single mothers, students, his brother. Since the textiles industry faded from prominence, more and more people started living in places never meant for living. No parking, cold metal railings everywhere, ornamental clocks that don’t keep the time and far too close to the stinking sea.

He pulled down the plastic case covering the bells and pushed the button labeled “Gway”. Number 14.

No answer. Figures.

Bleddyn sat next to his bags and reminded himself of all the other stuff he hated. He hated women, he hated coffee drinkers, he hated email, phones, people with phones, buttons, zips, anything practical, anything impractical. Shit. He hated everything. Fortunately, he was able to focus all of that hate on his queer little brother who, unfortunately, wasn’t even home for him to hate directly. Bleddyn just sat there, thinking hateful thoughts towards the ginger bastard.

And then the door opened. And what he saw was unlikely, repulsive and sort of beautiful. A young woman in a dress opened the door, unprompted, and looked down at him—the displeased lump of human being squatting on the front step of her building. What repulsed Bleddyn wasn’t the woman herself, but the dress. Why the fuck was she dressed in an Elizabethan gown? If she’d just been dressed in jeans and a top he’d have been able to hate her, like he hated everything else. But she wasn’t dressed normally, she was in a gown. He wanted to hate her so much for it, for denying him easy-to-dismiss hatred that he’d been growing accustomed to, but he couldn’t hate her the same way he hated old clocks. She was beautiful and probably mentally unhinged.

“Um, hi.”

“Do you want to come in? Do you know someone who lives here?”

“Why are you wearing that dress?” He didn’t move from his slumped position. He couldn’t. He was paralyzed with disgust and wonder.

She smiled. Goddamn it she smiled at him. Goddamn her, she’s pretty. He was hopeless.

He sort of smiled back. He hated women. He hated her, and her breasts. Goddamn women and gowns. “It’s, um, nice. Sparkly.” She smiled at him again. “A bit… unusual though?”

She stepped out onto the step beside him and sat close enough that he could smell her. She smelled like a woman, like a woman who used nice shower products. He hated women, and showers. It occurred to him that he hadn’t bathed in about four days and probably smelt worse than the sea. He shuffled away from her. He hated himself.

“Um, are you okay?”

“yeah.” He wasn’t okay. Where the hell was is brother and why the hell was she wearing that terrible gown? “where’d you get it?”


“Your dress… where’d you get it? You an actress or something?”

“Oh, no, I’m not an actress.” She smiled again and he cringed despite himself. “Are you sure you’re alright? You want to come in? Tea?”

“Why are you wearing it?”

She stood up and unlocked the front door. “Come on.”

He hated her, he hated himself, and most of all he hated his brother.

And though he hated everything and everyone, he followed this girl into her apartment and let her heal him. Let him forget why he’d come to see his brother and forget about the clocks and the phones and the sea. Let him undress her, though he still had no idea why she’d worn the gown in the first place. He convinced himself that she’d just lost a bet or some utterly mundane and normal thing. He let himself think she was something sort of normal, and that it was entirely normal to follow a stranger in an Elizabethan gown into her apartment and stay there for two years.

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