Take a break from the frenzy and enjoy a short story from 'The Naming of Moths' by Tracy Fells
This imaginative tale with a grisly twist is the treat you need this week.
I hope you’re reading this with a cuppa and a blanket! I’ve been planning creative writing workshops for 6th form and universities this week - ‘Finding a Vocabulary for Climate Anxiety’ - and I was talking to my Mum about how lists can help us quieten our limitless anxieties into manageable forms. ‘Ten Good Reasons’ by Tracy Fells is the opening story to her collection of myths, motherhood and monsters, ‘The Naming of Moths’ and really does add a new meaning to the therapeutic nature of list-making! I hope you enjoy.
TEN GOOD REASONS
By Tracy Fells
It struck me one day how easy it could be to kill my husband. I made a list of ten good reasons why I should execute the plan and then another list of ten appropriate scenarios.
“Not another bloody list, Trish?” said Geoffrey as I scribbled away in my hard-backed exercise book. I like the ones with the red stripe down the spine, coal black cover and blue ink lines inside. “You’re obsessed.”
I looked up the dictionary definition of obsessive and wrote a list of ten reasons why I couldn’t possibly be classified as that.
Before my fiftieth birthday, I launched a tidy-up of the attic and found a hand-written note tucked into the back of an old diary. And so I recovered my first ever list: ten things I wanted to do before fifty. A bit overdue, I hadn’t achieved any of them, but this simple collection of statements set me off on a fateful course, giving purpose, meaning and order to my life.
1. Visit Australia.
2. Swim with dolphins.
3. Write a novel.
4. Live abroad for a year.
5. Have an affair with a woman.
I placed the list inside my special box. Geoffrey doesn’t know about this box; it’s buried in a drawer with the rest of my ‘women’s things’: BIC razors, tights, old lipsticks, a tape measure and diet books. The drawer was feminine territory – a Geoffrey exclusion zone – so my box was perfectly secure. All things precious were hidden there: the tiny plastic tag they had strapped around her wrist, the little white sock I’d squirrelled up my sleeve before they took her away. My one regret is I didn’t take any photographs, so I only have that single memory, kept safe in my head.
I met Geoffrey long before the lists began. At twenty-four I’d been pretty naïve but pretty too, and six years without my beautiful baby girl. He’d sat on the edge of my desk in the showroom, seducing me with compliments and chocolate bars.
As the Assistant Manager, he always wore a suit, smelled of Old Spice and smoked skinny cigars. He was ten years older and I thought him sophisticated, debonair and slightly dangerous.
Every Friday, he took me out for a pub lunch followed by sex on the back seat of his demonstration car, parked down a quiet country lane. I enjoyed the lunches.