In the opening of ADRIFT, Bernie’s daydreaming about the life of her friend Robin, how his creativity inspires her.
On a good day in Robin’s life, on an ideal day which is creatively profitable, when the world buzzes with the fact that you are a maker and not a subordinate, when you fizz with tangibility, and the pavement glows where the air hits it…
Or, on a day when you don’t find yourself skint and stranded in town at three o’clock the following morning.
On one of those perfect days, I believe Robin got up at eight (although this is conjecture) when the sun shone through the thin seventies-style curtains, shining off the gloss of the Kubrick poster, bringing the paler curves of faces out in relief. He fished about for the jeans tangled on the floor and stumbled out to the bathroom to stand in the shower. And because it was such a fine day, the water springing against him was just the right temperature to refresh him. His hair washed clean in an astringent smell and body soaped in minutes, he climbed out and glanced at the grubby mirror fixed to the wall over the sink. He ran a wet arm across its steamed surface and briefly contemplated shaving. But you shouldn’t waste the time of perfect days.
He grabbed at the pile of clothes on the floor. The T-shirt, he left his T-shirt in the bedroom. Wrapped in a blue towel, he walked watery footprints across the landing to find the green cloth nearly pushed under the bed. He pulled it on followed by brief towelling and the rest of his clothes. They rubbed uncomfortably against him where he was still wet. Then he thundered down the stairs. Perhaps barefoot? He could be wearing his trainers at this point, but that would mean that they had been in his room, reeking. Perhaps that makes sense, Robin’s room full of day and night male scents, bloke stuff.
Wouldn’t know, never been there, only knew about the film poster because I was with him when he bought it.
Were his housemates still in, breakfasting, when he got downstairs? Half-watching gaudy breakfast TV and laughing at snatched jokes, brushing their hair in a mirror in the hall before leaving the house? I don’t know what his housemates do for jobs, so I just have to guess.
But Robin had orange juice for breakfast on the pale square dining table, the sunlight still insistent through the plant-filled window ledge, bouncing off sea-green tiles on the walls. The orange juice was from the ‘freshly squeezed’ bottles even though he couldn’t afford it. And he drank instant coffee (Gemma would never have approved). It was black. The milk had turned sour. He ate hot-buttered toast that leapt deliciously browned from the toaster and he thought about the bacon-wrapped in the fridge, out of date tomorrow, but an ideal day is not a lazy day.
He dropped his plate and glass into the fading bubbles of the lukewarm washing-up water and took his mug upstairs with him to brush his teeth and collect his stuff. You know the sort of things. The sort of things that belong to artists, visionaries.
A few minutes later, the door clicked into its latch as Robin launched himself onto the balcony and ran down the steps to the street. The magician was out into the city.
From the writer of the ‘Engaging and Uplifting’ (Daily Mail) HELEN AND THE GRANDBEES, artist Alex Morrall explores themes of love and isolation in her novella, Adrift. Follow the lives of Bernie, Robin and Gemma by signing up for (including an exclusive free short story) here: https://www.subscribepage.com/z9r7l5