Lily sits in a dimly lit cafe, advertised open 8am till late. Its 7.34pm, as she sits sipping a double shot mochachino, she is careful not to allow the foam to form a double shot moustache. Fallen leaves have collected in the cities forgotten corners, they’re creeping into the remote and far between areas of her mind that she’s neglected to keep the walls up and around, slowly collecting, and multiplying like bacteria on uncovered cheese. Lily’s therapist got back from a holiday in Rome today, or was it next Tuesday? It’s been five weeks.
It’s been two years since she was bedbound in her attic room unable to hush the intolerable noise running riots through her mind. In amongst the froth of her double shot mochachino moustache, the uncontrollable urge for an excursion to the highest most rooftop within the cities centre overwhelmed Lilies empty coffee mug. She inhaled one deep breath of silence from the overflowing and bustling cafe exhaling unsatisfyingly. Lily didn’t care much for her therapist; she couldn’t hear the white noise of despair clawing at the already mulched clippings within Lily’s mind’s eye. Perhaps Pauline wouldn’t even notice if she didn’t turn up, on her arrival back into the therapy world. Lily wondered what similarities delving into every client past and childhood history had to her excursion to Rome. It was a thought that wormed its way in, multiplied a few times amongst the mulched clippings and fallen leaves, perhaps Pauline could care less about Lily. Perhaps Pauline could care less about listening and more about her pay check at the end of each week.
Perhaps it would be better if Lily didn’t think about these things too much.
As Lily stood from her table, a cigarette was already loitering at her lip, barely out the door and past the bustle of new comers; she lit it and breathed out a hazy breath of tobacco
tainted fumes. The street was littered with walks of all lives, none quite fitting Lilies. A dottery old chap leaned over his Zimmer frame, resting for a moment, looking up as he contemplated continuing his journey to god only knows where at this time of night. He flashed a smile Lilies way, she turned wondering who it was meant for, realising it was her, she smirked back, her cigarette lifting in the corner of her mouth.
She put her butt out and threw it to the corner of the concreted rooftop gazing over the lights coming from the street, and turned her back to the breast high wall, sliding down till she was sitting with her knees to her chest. Sighing a breath of relief, she closed her eyes. Smoke filled her nostrils as she opened her eyes expecting to find someone, cigarette in mouth, coffee in hand on a smoko break from the hotel she was sitting above, though, that it was not. The fallen leaves that had collected in the cities forgotten corners, the ones gathered in the rooftop corner had caught a light, presumably from Lilies cigarette butt. Shit. Shit shit shit. Flames were lapping at the heaped pile, now completely immersed in flames, licking at the concrete ground beneath them. As they slowly retreated, a pile of hot embers glowed, cracked leaves that had caught in the wind, and swept up were now falling slowly to the area beside where she sat.
She grappled with the wall behind her steadying herself as she stood, leaning over the side she saw people walking, and laughing, and dancing through the streets, steam fell from her breath, as she held her smallest finger up examining the peoples sizes from where she voyeuristically looked on. Her phone buzzed and the sound of a timer went off, she reached into her bra and pulled out
her phone, clicking it on and swiping across the screen lay two missed calls and three texts from her little brother Zac, 1.“hey Lil, can you call me?” 2. “just call mum’s cell, mines gone flat, thx” 3. “Hey Lil, did you get my text?”. She burrowed her face down into her scarf, attempting to escape the real world, resting there for a moment, head in her hands, Zac never calls. Shit. He probably wants help with his English homework. Shit. Oh fuck it Ally can help him. Do I say goodbye? Shit.
The street lights dot around the city centre reflecting off the overcast sky forming an orange glow that has cast itself over the party goers, the late night wanderers, the pensioners checking their letterboxes for the final time that night before bed, the dottery old chap possibly still making his way back to where he began, and Lily. As she watches the busy streets below her, her eyes flicker across the street lights that form together like hazy phone lines, her gaze casts over what she can only make out as a small group of fresh 18 year olds, let out into the excitement of the night, making their way to an outstretched line leading to a presumably popular night club. Perhaps the feeling of letting your hair down once in a while is a thing of the past for Lily. Perhaps the excitement of the night no longer exists in amongst the stark comparison of the dark still grey places she finds herself within. Another group can be seen dotted on the back of a Ute as it screeches around the corner, coming to a stark halt right outside the same club the 18 years olds are possibly still waiting to get into, giggling in anticipation. As they jump out and walk up the path towards the front of the line, a girl, possibly in her mid-twenties around Lilies age, grabs a beer from the bouncer, pulls chewing gum from her mouth and sticks it to the door, flicks the bottle open, the cap falls to the ground and stumbles into the gutter, as she tips her head back and skulls.
Lilies phone teeters haphazardly on the edge of the wall surrounding the rooftop for safety purposes reads the signs that encapsulates the surrounding walls and Lily. She swiftly grasps at her phone sighing a breath of relief; it would cost her two weeks’ pay to replace it if she dropped it from this height. Shit. What am I thinking. Who fucking cares about a fucking cell phone? Am I fucking stupid. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.
The pain returned this time with a vengeance, that undeniable dull ache that clawed its way through her being starting from the lump in her chest, and would eat away at her once more like a poison. She contemplated her past and her presence and then the future with no clear notion of her part in it. She stared out beyond the cities edges at the terror of the unknown under the great murky shadow that was the poison slowly eating her away at her, her formless sense of future distressed her, the absence of it all. A girl shrieked, muffled in the distance from the pavements below to the rooftop she was still standing at, piercing the calm still of the night she had just grown accustomed dispelling out and into the wretchedness of her loud mind.
It’s a strange feeling that has been eating away at Lily for the past two weeks, as if dark curtains are falling down and resting just above Lilies eyelids, she’s not worried about them though, it is a comfortable feeling that she has become accustomed to. Her eyes feel weighted, lazy even, and slow, ridiculously slow, unable to look up and into the night sky painted with a hazy full moon and a few stars darted between the orange glow that has cast itself over the now gloomy city.
The walls surrounding Lily were covered in the usual graffiti and etched with teenaged defacing’s with run-of-the-mill quotations of life, love, and angst, her fingers danced across them
Like brail contented with the kindred company of desperation these etchings portrayed. One caught her attention as she looked closer to read the inscription ‘don’t solve a temporary problem with a very much permanent solution, be courageous, never give up’. Frustration built up within her core and heat rose within her chest illuminating through her and forming outwardly on her cheeks and ears. The sound of a knife scraping across glass perforated through her mind, shrill, sharp, and deafening. It’s not like death seems so suddenly fucking appealing you moron! I bet this loser’s never known trapped, or felt the invisible flames licking at their insides to actually understand that courage is fucking living and I’m not that fucking courageous. Fucking hell.
The sound of trickling water demanded her attention as she turned her focus down quick enough to notice the gutter running around the edges of the rooftop floor where she stood filling and spilling over, attempting to swallow her feet, she was barefoot and vulnerable. When the fuck did it start raining? She looked down, examining her clothes which were now dripping wet with excess rain water. Fuck.
“Hey, who’s out there?” shouted a voice Lily did not recognise as it cut its way through the rain soaked air. She spun around in shock, her hand up protecting her eyes from the glaring light beaming out at her from the door to the stairwell. “Oh Petal, it is you!” came the voice once more bounding out and between the pounding thumps of rain against the concrete roof. “What are you doing up here Darling? I’ve been looking for you everywhere, a young girl like you shouldn’t be out in the dark of night alone, come inside, your mum has just made your favourite pudding.” The anonymous figure from the doorway stepped closer, out of the light and into the darkness to where Lily could start making out who belonged to the voice. Hands clasping a metal frame of
Some sort slowly came closer, stopping to rest just metres from where she stood. Hands like wrinkled leather connected to an old hunched man, dottery. It was the man from the street who had smiled at her. “Petal! It feels like I haven’t seen you in such a long time! Come and give your old man a hug, I’ve missed you.” Lily stepped closer unsure of what was happening. “What were you doing out on this rooftop, so high above the ground? Please tell me you weren’t going to leave me again?”