This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 792 words.
On that Saturday morning, Gillian was woken up early by noises from outside. Looking out of her bedroom window, she could see the women next door setting up some kind of open tents in the back garden. There were two people out there with the neighbours, one had long hair and the other one looked like a man, with a shaved head. But when he turned round, it was obvious from the big boobs under the checked shirt that it was a woman.
As she was up early, she thought she might as well check on the emails and blog. So she went down in her dressing gown and made a big mug of tea before turning on the computer. There was no reply from Matt in her emails, so she logged on to the blog instead.
Yesterday’s post had sixteen more views, and a total of twenty-three likes. There were some comments too.
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They puzzled her. She couldn’t see why they had left the comments, as they had no relevance to anything on her post. Not knowing what else to do, she clicked the star to like each comment, then went to make some breakfast. Fried eggs on toast took her fancy, and as she was cooking, she could see the two bags of rubbish she had dropped outside the back door. Last dustbin day, she had been unable to summon up the courage to take the bin to the front gate, and had put her rubbish outside in the garden instead.
But she had only opened the door wide enough to drop the bin bags without actually walking outside.
Before lunchtime, the sudden noise from the garden made her jump. They had started playing music out there already, sounding like a heavy metal disco or something. Gillian switched on her television and cranked up the volume loud enough for her to hear what they were saying on the news, but the music from the party in the garden next door, and the sounds of people shouting and laughing made it seem pointless to try to watch anything. Best to have an early lunch and look on the computer instead.
There was a reply from Matt, sent just a few minutes earlier.
Hi, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think the feeling will ever go away. If anything, it will get worse over time. Ask anyone who feels the same, and they will tell you it’s incurable. But I don’t want to bring you down, so I encourage you to just learn to live with it. Ignore all the advice online, and anyone who tells you they can talk you round. If there was a cure, I wouldn’t still be like I am. On the way home from work yesterday, I was so distressed, I vomited at a bus stop. I think the people in the queue thought I was drunk, though one old lady did ask me if I was alright. When I got home, I was still shaking, and couldn’t face eating anything. So to answer your question in the email, I don’t cope with going to work, not at all. If I could get a doctor to agree to sign me off, I would never go to work again. Matt. X
Gillian was starting to feel really sorry for Matt. He seemed so nice, and she could imagine his upset making him sick at that bus stop. It also made her feel a bit guilty, as she never had to go out. The noise from next door was getting worse, so she decided to reply immediately, to take her mind off the racket.
Dear Matt. If you can go out to get to work, maybe you should go to see your doctor instead. Explain what is happening, and see if he will give you time off. Better still, make you unfit for work, so you can get benefits and not have to go out. I don’t like to think of you being so bad like that, but there’s not much I can do, except be your friend My name is Gillian by the way, but don’t mention that on my blog. You can call me Gill. My mum used to, and so did some of the people I worked with. x
She thought it only fair to tell him her real name. And one small kiss at the end didn’t hurt.