The Truth About Loneliness
He shits in the garden. Every day. I see it when I’m washing up. I look up from the water and there it is. A hillock of brown in my eyeline; a blot on my otherwise green vista. I never see him do it but sometimes he sees me when I go to the shed and take my spade to clear it away. Sometimes he stays and watches but most times he just turns his back and walks away. He’s not embarrassed, more annoyed as if by my taking it away I am creating work for him and tomorrow he will have to shit there again. Which he does. It scars the lawn.
The shed is small but ordered. The tools hang from the wall in size order, the spade nearest the door. There is a window, plastic, not glass. It too looks across the lawn to the blemish he leaves there. I lift the spade from the wall and head to the faeces. Before I get too close I take a gulp of air and hold it. Invariably the shit stinks. I have learnt the hard way that the smell has a taste. It clings to the back of your mouth and puts you off your food for the rest of the day. Best not to breathe.
I stab the sharp edge of the spade underneath the excrement and scoop it up in one practised swing. I walk it at arm’s length to the bin. The lid is already off and I drop it in. As I walk back to the shed with the spade I see the scar in the grass and my shoulders slump at the imperfection. I hang the spade back on the wall and look out of the plastic window. It’s then that I see him furtively looking about him before settling his arse an inch above the grass ready to shit. I see myself tiptoeing softly up behind him. He feels my presence first but as he turns I take my swing. His eyes lock mine just as the spade makes contact with his neck. His head is gone but his arse keeps on shitting. I clean up the faeces but I leave his body there. His blood seeping into the scar and nourishing the soil; feeding the new grass. There will be no more mess on the lawn.
But there was shit in the garden today and there will be again tomorrow. Because he is my companion. My only friend. I may not like it but this is our routine. He shits in the garden. Every day. And I clean it up.
Rhiannon Cousins lives on a mountain in mid Wales where she is currently writing her first novel.
(Next “Kill People” story: Pact by Walt Paterson)
(Previous “Kill People” story: Blood Red by Mandy Huggins)
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Art by David Hockney