In the taxi home we get so into our post-theatre analysis that we don’t notice the driver is taking us the long way round. We’re passionate and excited and espousing our three-wine-deep-intellectualism like a newfound philosophy.
Later that week, with clear-headed inarticulacy, I try to explain it to my boss:
I really liked it, I say. It was sort of about paranoia and imagination and how no one’s really believing anyone else but it’s all in their heads. It’s interesting because like imagination is built up to be this great thing, right? Like if you have an imagination there are limitless possibilities or whatever. But then actually, if I’m in the house on my own and I hear a noise, I definitely think it’s someone breaking in to murder me.
Ok but it’s a two-sided coin, my boss says. Because you get all this creative stuff as well. So it’s like, here, you can have this big bag of magic, but sometimes you’ll scare yourself.
I think of the girl in the gold dress and heels at the crossing at 9am on a Tuesday. Of the phone I can hear endlessly vibrating on the floor of the apartment above me. Of the customer who tells me they can’t give their card details because they don’t want anyone in their office overhearing. Of the man who passes me in the street with a clear plastic bag full of whips. Of the health inspector who asks for a brochure and tells me she doesn’t get to the theatre as much as she used to. Of the young European men our old landlord called his students. Of the ginger cat that waits for us, purring, at the gate.
Then I think of the man I thought followed me home from the train station. Of the time I couldn’t recognise my housemate’s footsteps on the stairs. Of the too-loud voices outside my window. Of the abandoned duffel bag under the bus seat. Of the endless creaks and aches of a new house at night.
I distract from my thoughts with the internet. But the vastness of cyberspace cannot always compete. A pop-up on a newspaper site interrupts me: This is your last free story of the month, it says.
Ha! I think loudly, Shows what you know.
Then I think a little quieter, I’ve got a big bag of magic.
Then I think quieter still, But sometimes, I scare myself.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 12th March 2017 as part of Internet Care Package.
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