John Henri-allyn John Henri-allyn
Recommendations: 0

So toward the bottom of the paragraph "The woman had told she had a friend" could probably use a "Her" after told. I laughed audibly when she thought she was a bad mother because of Megan's matted hair. :)

John Henri-allyn John Henri-allyn
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Not sure if you meant to space the sentence this way but the sentence beginning with "When" should probably go back up right after unaware.

Susan Stone Susan Stone
Recommendations: 2

I'm commenting on my own story because I can't get the discussion box to appear in full. A few words are missing on the left and side and because that part of the box is missing I can't write there either. If anyone is kind enough to read my book and comment on it, could you please post her among the comments so that I can read what you say. Does anyone else have this problem. I've just bought a new computer.

John Henri-allyn John Henri-allyn
Recommendations: 0

I haven't personally had this problem but I am having a problem keeping thoughts italicized. I add the Italics, save it, reload it and sometimes it goes back to normal. Well I apologize for my earlier comments if you didn't mean to format it this way. I understand now. Just wanted to say I enjoyed your work. That is quite a predicament Ella is in. In real life I try not to get addicted to anything because I don't want to be overly dependent on anything. I'm afraid it makes me a little dull though. Great writing. When I get a chance I'll read some more.

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Susan Stone Susan Stone
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Pain. Part one


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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

Ella wanted a drink as usual.  She had to take the push chair with her and get it into the shop.  She felt weary and alone.  Her family was 200 miles away.   There was nowhere to go, no one to visit: just the shop.  Did she have no shame?   Yes she did but she was lonely and desperate.  It hadn’t been so bad before she’d had the baby.  Now she felt stranded, as if it was wrong to fall back on her fantasy world—her world of dwelling on an imaginary past when the present was just a grey, uncertain reality.  It would make her little daughter grow up weird—or plain crazy like she was.


Last week it had been snowing and she’d had to find her way up the hills of Bristol to the chemist to ask for a treatment for cradle cap.  Little Megan’s hair had started to mat.  She supposed that meant she was a bad mother.  The Asian shop assistant had been kind and had given her some advice as if she knew she was desperate, but the thought of pushing the pushchair back through all that snow had blunted her gratitude to a cold, graceless thank you.  It occurred to her now that the Asian woman’s kindness may have been an overture of friendship.  Ella did not know how to make friends—had always had only one good friend.  Her brother had told her that was a bad idea, that it she fell out with her one good friend she would have no one.  Here she had just that—no one.  A woman had started at the mother baby group she attended and Ella had felt a sort of connection with her but her overtures had been rebuffed.  The woman had told she had a friend who wrote children’s stories.  Ella supposed she wasn’t good enough to be the woman’s friend because she had no successful employment record in something flamboyant. 1 comment


The women at the mother baby group didn’t know she drank—that her husband threatened her with violence and that if he came home from his work in the library and found she’d been drinking he would probably hit her.  It made her tense when she drank.  She held her body tight and tried to keep her wits about her when he was due home.  The tension had built up inside her and lately her body had become permanently tense so that it hurt all over and she found it difficult to do simple tasks like washing up, especially with the rice Tom left in the pans in the morning.   He had irritable bowel syndrome and believed that bread aggravated it so he only ate rice in the mornings—sticky rice.  It was the bane of her life.


She wheeled the pushchair down the hill:  there were so many hills in Bristol that every trip was a chore. The traffic was horrendous.  When the baby was first born she’d worried about the air pollution, still worried about it, but she needed a drink to numb this horrendous pain so she would ignore the poisonous atmosphere.  She also ignored the fact that she would be in no fit state within an hour to take care of her fragile toddler.  She would hold herself stiff and keep her wits about her, she thought.


The Indian shop owner knew she was a drunk.  She was ashamed of taking the four cans of Special Brew to the counter but she did it.  She opened her purse and counted out the change and to her horror discovered that she was a few pence short.  There were women in the queue behind her.  Shame-faced she muttered about her dilemma.
“Don’t let her have them,” one of the women said, a haggard, elderly woman.
The shop keeper let her off for the money.  She escaped the shop and outside she stood on the curb waiting for a break in the traffic and breathed in the toxic air with a sense of relief, knowing that she would soon be able to kill the pain.  She also felt a poisonous and unrelenting shame, but that would soon be gone too.  Everything that hurt would be gone, she thought, knowing perfectly well that she was deluding herself.  The shame never went away, and the fear of Tom’s violence and of Megan getting hurt.  There was no escape.


The hill was so steep climbing it was a chore, but Megan was good.  She didn’t cry or complain.  She liked it outside as if outside were a perpetual playground.  She complained a lot when she was trapped inside which was part of the problem.  There was nothing outside as far as Ella was concerned.  She couldn’t drink outside.  There was only the vaguely unpleasant inner city park which to Ella seemed just as poisonous as the streets, just as grey and polluted.  Megan was joyful and unaware.
When she’d been 8 months pregnant she’d gone outside to weed and scrub the patio. It had occurred to her then that she would not be alone after Megan was born for a long time.  She liked being alone. 1 comment


She wheeled the pushchair up the hill lusting for the alcohol she had placed in the basket under it, not minding the weight of it, taking consolation from it.  
At last she was home and she cracked open one of the cans with a sense of relief.  Needless to say the afternoon passed in a daze and without much joy.  She’d tried to drink steadily but was greedy for a sense of elation which never came.
She’d gulped the dry beer not enjoying the taste either which she never enjoyed and passed out quite quickly.


Then Tom was home and he woke her abruptly.  She had no idea what had happened, how little Megan had taken care of herself and Tom was furious.  He banged his hands against both of her ears hard.  She vomited, ran upstairs and passed out again on the bed.  When she woke up a while later she didn’t know what time it was so she looked at her watch.  It was 10pm.  She got undressed and climbed under the duvet.  A few minutes later Tom came to bed.  He was cold and hostile.  She shivered thinking how cold everything seemed in Bristol, especially the people.


“If you won’t stop drinking, I want a divorce,” he said.


“But it’s so late and I won’t sleep if I’m worried,” Ella groaned.


“You’ll have to get a flat.  You won’t get custody of Megan, that’s for sure,” he grumbled.


“I’ll be all alone.  I wait for you to come home,” she said desperately.


“You weren’t waiting tonight,” he complained.


“We could split the house in two like that man and woman you told me about,” she said, thinking that she could keep Megan that way.  Even now a divorce seemed a thousand miles away and she did not know how splitting the house in two would destroy her.  


Then came the advice and the instructions.


“You’ll go to Alcoholics Anonymous.  And I’ve found out about a woman’s group that meets at the farm in City Farm.”


“Okay,” she agreed, knowing how difficult the walk to the City Farm was with a pushchair, across the hilly park, but desperate to please him.  “I’m in so much pain.”  She said but he wasn’t listening.


“They’ve got a crèche at the farm.  The women meet at 1 o’clock on Wednesdays,” he informed her.


“Okay,” she answered, but she didn’t want to go.  The hills around Bristol were like mountains, obstacles to everything. It would be Wednesday tomorrow.
Then he rolled over and turned his back on her and tried to go to sleep.  He had problems sleeping and would wake her up with his huffing and puffing.  She decided to go downstairs and take some paracetamol.


Downstairs she wished she had a bottle of vodka.  She took 3 paracetamol, swallowed them whole-- and then took 2 more.  5 paracetamol wouldn’t kill her.  Then she went back to bed where she listened for an hour to Tom’s huffing and puffing before she fell asleep at last. 2 comments


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