You kiss like a rock but you know I need it anyway.
Okay, so it’s nearing midnight now. All quiet in the house which is now like that ghastly mansion in The Innocents. So quiet you can almost hear the wind that isn’t even there. Everyone is inside the house. The guests are sleeping in their bedrooms. I guess I can hear some noise upstairs. Someone’s throat is slashed. Someone’s heart is carved with a knife. Someone’s head is bashed in. But – no, it’s someone unpacking. Is it Jo? Jo and her twenty-seven suitcases?..
Okay, first thought in the morning – I need to pack my things and leave. Winter sun is cruel. It’s a trick. It’s the irony.
Emma was the first to come. Always the first. All quiet and industrious, as ever. This time, however, I noticed something else inside those small brown eyes. A devilish flicker, for a second or two as she stared at our Christmas tree. It was like some electrical discharge that went from the top of the tree to the apple of her eye. Those episodes my mom talked about. I don’t know what they are (yet, yet!), but they have to be real.
She said she wasn’t hungry and went upstairs. Typical Emma. Once inside her room, she never made a sound. There’s something genuinely scary about that.
Then the doorbell rang again and I opened the door. Eric gave me the flowers and kissed me on the cheek. Would have been fine with Jo around. As it was – no use. Eyes full of asinine adoration, some boys never learn. Tom and Hilda came off better than I’d imagined, but you could see straight away that there was none of that famous chemistry of Guardian articles and early mornings in the kitchen. You could lick the thick layer of ice spurting from their faces and their tongues. They tried to appear normal, but they were not normal. Nothing is anymore.
And now they would have a bedroom to share. I bet my parents didn’t even notice anything as slowly they disappeared up the staircase.
Peter, Emily and Jo were the last to come. Jo with her things (why would you need to play the piano if you cared so much about things?) and Peter and Emily with their unspoken problem. And I mean unspoken. It looked as if nothing had happened: no screwing around and no SMS-messages. I guess this kind of silence is even worse as there can be no limit to what it can lead to. Any family psychiatrist will tell you it’s best to just let it out. And as for Marie – she will tell you about Emily’s cold black stare at my mom and black patches around Peter’s eyes. And as for Jo, her pretty little head must be preoccupied with so many other things. Things!
As ever, Emily and Peter will have my parents’ bedroom (my parents will move to the living-room). Jo will have a small bedroom directly above mine. Having presented us with a bottle of red wine (same as last year), they all went upstairs to their rooms.
All these people – they disgust me. They disgust me so much I almost want to see a ghost. A ghost from The Innocents. For the first time in my life, I think a ghost could save us all. I think you can actually make a deal with a ghost.
And at the end of the day – where the hell is my knife.
But like I say – all quiet.
Maybe someone is dead already. And in the morning, when I wake up, a different someone will knock on my door and all hell will break loose.
P.S. 7 days.