She walked to the top of the park and looked down. "I am Princess and this is my kingdom. I am Princess and this is my crown" she thought, staring at the cars glistening over speed-bumps below, grey clouds mottled, hanging low over the roof-tops. Sitting on the bench she had to pull her jacket tight. Summer was gone.
The tree stump where she had sat the Spring before had grown moss, so she lay in the grass. She hoped if she lay there long enough then someone would find her. After about an hour nobody came so she stood up and walked the long way home down Morrell Avenue. When she got indoors it started to rain.
She was thinking about the party she was at the night before. Someone there had said that there were some people upstairs lying in a line on the floor in the dark. They were high. She said: "Like who?" They said: "Like, everyone." She assumed that by this they meant anyone who was cool. Well, the thing was, they were on uppers and she really couldn't think of a worse combination. People in Oxford didn't know how to do drugs. So she went into the kitchen.
The guy she had come to the party with was ignoring her because this other girl he liked was there. "He loves her." she thought. What's worse was she didn't really care. Perched by the microwave, smoke from her cigarette got up her nose. These two girls had been giving her uglies all night. Perhaps it's because she hadn't bothered enough with her clothes, she thought, looking at her plimsolls and fading tan. Summer was gone. One of the girls was looking at her pierced to poise, all porcelain, her face like second-rate lead paint and cold cat eyes, synched belt like upholstery 'round her thick waist, dark lips shining red like a place the sun can't.
She stared blankly back and got up, went upstairs, walked into a room. It was a boy's room, she could tell. A Stale taste of nicotine and Special Brew. She looked at the coppers on the top of the book case and his DVDs: Amelie, La Haine, Way of The Dragon, Die Hard. There was a Radiohead poster on the wall, a keyboard in the corner, neatly stacked CDs and a PC, tobacco coloured curtains, a window half-open breathing out over the backyards and skips.
She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned 'round. What seemed like an hour had passed as he continued to thrust himself into her, her knickers pinching her thighs, jagged hip bones, summer holidays holding all Sepia in the back seat of her brain. She waited until it was over.
He got up, buckled up. She had stared at his face in the dark. His glassy eyeballs caught the light from beyond the window. She thought of how romantic this could have been. She imagined him stroking her face but he was gone. She lay staring at the ceiling. A car stalled on the street below and someone was calling a name but it fractured in the night air, the different syllables colliding. It wasn't hers, she had thought
She lay there trying to figure out the tune on the stereo.
From downstairs she could hear a bass-line. A slow, heavy beat.
One, two, three.