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01/11/2011

Not Knowing

Henry Sutton

Naked, except for a pair of black knickers with busted elastic, Callie walks across her bedroom floor – feet gliding over the worn, tan pile – to the alcove that houses her clobber. She stops in front of her full-length mirror, hazy with dust, and begins stiffly arching her back, turning to one side, then the next, again and again. Daring not to touch herself, her breasts.

Though on the small side and sagging a bit now – the nipples as ever shockingly dark and distended – they’ve given her enough pleasure. She shouldn’t complain. Sort of wishes they were going to remove both of them and be done with it. Not sure one will still work. Not sure she’ll want it to work, like that. Can’t imagine what sort of bras she’ll have to wear either.

Can’t imagine what anyone will say when she, or they take the thing off, revealing nothing but a huge scar on the right side of her chest. However much they’ve been assuring her to the contrary.

‘It’s amazing what cosmetic surgery can do,’ one doctor said – as if she doesn’t know. She’s never buggered about with her boobs though – always kind of liked them small, pert, manageable. How they were so bloody sensitive. Even after childbirth.

Plus, with her small, trim frame, meant she could shop at Topshop decades after most of her female friends went to fat, and then spent a fortune trying to squeeze into clothes that only made them look fatter – like over-stuffed turkeys. She went out with a turkey farmer once – she still lives in that part of the world. He smelt like he was rotting from the inside out. Now she supposes she is.

At least Martin won’t care, whether she has two tits or one. She eases out of the alcove, turns to face the bedroom. Her bedroom. His is down the corridor, far end. Used to be Nile’s tip.

Catching sight of the ancient bedside radio, clock and alarm with its blinking green numbers, menacing somehow, she sees it’s 16.32. At least her eyesight’s pretty good. As long as she’s not looking at anything too closely. Better that way.

She moves over, sits on the edge of the bed, still undecided what to wear. She’s suddenly not even sure she should bother getting dressed.

It’s too late for a nap and too early for a drink. So she reaches for the handset, which is next to the blinking clock. She taps in Nile’s number. Takes a deep breath. Sighs. Quickly presses the red button and throws the thing onto the other side of the bed before he answers. Not that he would. He’s like his dad there. Martin never answers when she tries to reach him. When she wants to know where the fuck he is. She should have married the turkey farmer. Maybe she’d have got used to the smell.

But then she wouldn’t have had Nile. Not exactly the Nile she brought up anyway. She looks at the phone again. Maybe he doesn’t need to be told, yet. Ever.

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