Oesophagus

Her spine jerks forward over the kitchen sink and he holds her hair back as she retches and vomits.

When she’s done, he checks the drain for her oesophagus. No, all intact.

He watches the vomit intermingle with the watery curry sauce stagnating on plates greyed by grime with spiderleg fractures crawling over the sides.

She rinses her mouth out with Tesco Value vodka and crumbles onto the couch leaving a Louboutin knock-off and a half empty box of Demerol in her wake.

Either you’re a Demerol box half empty kind of person, or a Demerol box half full kind of person, he’d later write in my diary.

He remembers her name, each letter popping bright in his hash-hazy head like fireworks.

D!

O!

N!

N!

A!

He only knew two women called Donna prior to meeting this one. The first was a character in some pulp story he wrote for Liqeuer Blues Monthly, the second being a psychiatric nurse who used to sort him out with premium grade diazepam.

And now this Donna, a barely post-adolescent alcoholic art student, occupying a space in his consciousness that fell into the nebulous nexus between fact and fiction. She’s far from the femme fatale he dreamt up for his hack work, and even further from a generous mental healthcare provider. At this stage he just wanted to put her in a taxi and send her back to the hellhole village in which she claimed to feel so repressed given her creative proclivities. She told him her favourite artist is Tracey Emin. That would explain the state of her bed.

He waits until he’s sure that Donna has fallen asleep and that she’s lying on her side, facing out from the couch, lips parted, teeth unclenched, hair behind her ears and off her forehead. He finds one of her friends smoking on the patio and says:

‘Donna is asleep on the couch.’

‘Oh, okay. Hey, what’s your name again?’

‘Iarla.’

‘Cool.’

He tells her that he has to leave, and then he leaves.