Lucy Evetts

Ceramic Car (2018)

T: I’m sorry

W: Don’t be – the truth is it’s easier to be a widow than to be divorced.

{Slight pause, T and W exchange looks}

W: I can tell myself he left without any choice; we were happy really happy. I knew a woman once who was divorced. You see, the women never leave, why would they? The shame – the embarrassment. I mean you might as well not bother going on. But a widow, a widower is different. You receive chocolates in the mail, flowers from neighbours; you feel smiles from those who otherwise you thought might not have given you a care. The truth is I guess – if you’re divorced and you’re a woman, then you might as well be the one dead, but you won’t be mourned for. Dead without the gentle hope of being missed. That frightens me you know – that maybe I could die one day, leave this planet and no one would miss me, you know? Sometimes I practice this – I don’t call anyone for weeks on end – and you know what? No one calls me – not a soul. I’m like a neglected bunch of roses. Covered in thorns, living in stagnant water, with my petals leaving me and my fat heads rotting.

T: Your husband’s death, I understand it was sudden?

W: I’ve started to carve myself a different life, you know. Tried different things, taken chances – things like that. I stole – one of those saccharin sparrows, the ones with those silly tweezers, filled with those sugared pills. We used to have little birds you know, he used to shoot the crows with his gun. He’d sit there for hours in the midday sun all the way to dusk shooting at their horrible heads. He liked to protect vulnerable things – you see – they deserved it really – those crows– taking those sweet small birds. Killing them off and feeding on their seeds. Life is like that don’t you think – full of crows picking on those who are weak. If you don’t become a crow then what will become of you – you’ll be defeated! We are all born sparrows delicate, beautiful, full of light but then darkness takes over you – you have to survive – you have no choice!

T: I think that it would be easier in this discussion if you tried saying “I” and not “you”.

W: {Slight pause, W and T exchange looks}

T: By saying “you” when in fact you mean “I” you are emotionally removing yourself from the feelings that you are expressing and therefore denying any particular link to this being an emotion very personally and very directly experienced by you.

W: Now there isn’t anyone to shoot the crows, hundreds of them sit in my garden, hungry for those little birds. You know I haven’t seen a little bird in weeks. I don’t know if they’re hiding or if they have died. When I was at the chemist, I saw this little silver sparrow looking down at me, with its diamond eyes full of all that sweetened stuff. So, I took it. I placed it in my pocket. I was wearing his jacket his dark blue overcoat with the deep pockets and it slipped right down inside. I felt its bulge against the fabric on the outside of the coat. And I walked out of the shop, but you know what – I even had the confidence to stop – to stop and talk to the shop owner whilst I sheltered the little thing from harm with my left hand.

T: You mentioned that you’ve never had children.

W: We keep the outside door open with the doorstop; it’s brass with a small bird on top. The creature has whirling eyes and is slightly hunched. The outside door is heavy and makes a terrible bang – so we wedged the bird stop firm underneath the gap so that hardly any of the brass of the doorstop is visible and you can just see its body and head poking out. He worked nights you see, I’m a light sleeper – I’m scared of loud bangs, so we kept the door ajar so it wouldn’t wake me when he finished work. You see we slept separately because of his back – he needed to stretch whilst he slept. So, he could come back a 2 am or 6 am and I wouldn’t even know – it’s the best thing we brought that little brass doorstop.

T: {Slight pause, T and W exchange looks}

W: I thought they would look nice together

T: {Pause}

W: You know the doorstop and the sugar bird – one is full of sugar and light the other – the other is sturdy tough, dependable.

T: The crash, when did it happen

W: We brought a new car – it was maroon, unusual, with a blue roof and a big yellow number plate. We took it for a spin – it was a present for me – you see? So, I’ve got a way of getting around when he’s not at home. The seats are deep and it has a great big window at the front.

T: {Slight pause}

W: We went into the city – it’s so big now – with big lights – big buildings – bellowing with smoke like a magician’s stage. And then you wouldn’t believe it but I saw not 1 not 2 but 3 zebras. They were weaving past the cars swerving in and out like we were trees in a jungle.

T: You saw three zebras.

W: We had the windows down and I could hear the clattering of their hoofs between the sounds of the beeping cars.

T: I would like to remind you that there were no other witnesses to these zebras.

W: Fabulous creatures – wonderful, have you ever seen any – and to see them wild like that – free, running havoc around the city it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.