PART OF THE Summer Reading ISSUE
‘The wall she had built around herself was as sturdy as that of the flat and nobody had the power tools to knock it through.’
Extract taken from Sunrise by the Sea
By Jenny Colgan
Published by Little, Brown
‘So.’ Caius looked regretful. ‘Okay, you have to know, first of all, this isn’t me, okay? I’ve spoken to all of my therapists about it and they all agree with me.’
Marisa blinked at him. It was four p.m. on a Tuesday, and she was still in her dressing gown. She’d been clicking through a huge pile of pics on Instagram: her friends had gone to a party on a boat least night. The boat hadn’t gone anywhere but they’d obviously had an absolute blast, drinking bright cocktails, and for some reason everyone was wearing ridiculous hats. Or perhaps it was the same hat, passed around. Anyway. They all looked like they were having a ball. They hadn’t even invited her. There was a limit to how many times she could say no to everything. They had been concerned and sympathetic to begin with but when nothing changed, and she was doing nothing and had nothing to say and frantically insisted all the time that she was right … well. There wasn’t much they could do, even though they loved her, which they did. The wall she had built around herself was as sturdy as that of the flat and nobody had the power tools to knock it through.
Although Caius was giving it a very good try.
‘The thing is. You’re giving out what is mostly a Very Bad Vibe?’
Marisa noticed she had some tinned spaghetti sauce on her dressing gown and frowned.
‘It’s quite hard to live with you?’
This was from Caius who had parties every five minutes, left empty bottles everywhere and had random people showing up all the time of whom Marisa was mostly terrified and hid from in the bathroom.
She frowned at him.
‘Really? I’m quite and tidy and pay the rent on time.’
Caius took a deep breath.
‘Actually, you’re spooky and sad and weird? It’s a bit like sharing a flat with that toilet ghost in Harry Potter?’ He nodded. ‘You know I’m only being honest like this for your own good?’
Marisa felt herself go numb.
She couldn’t get kicked out. She couldn’t. She’d have to leave… to go where? The idea of finding somewhere new was… it was too frightening. Too scary.
Her mum would be happy to have her home, but they still weren’t really talking, not after Christmas. She just didn’t understand, and she asked Marisa to explain it to her and Marisa didn’t understand either.
Plus her mum ran an open house anywhere, she had thousands of friends popping in all hours of the day and night, as well as people from the charities she worked for, her choir, her church group… it was endless. She didn’t really need Marisa.
Marisa and her grandfather, both more reserved, had been peas in a pod, her mother had always said. It always made Marisa happy to hear that.
‘I’m not a toilet ghost,’ she said quietly.
‘I know,’ said Caius, in a reasonable tone. ‘But say you were a toilet ghost, yeah, how different would your behaviour be?’
Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan is published by Little, Brown, priced £14.99.
Donald S. Murray was a teacher of English for 30 years. Since leaving that profession, he has written full-time. His non-fiction work includes ‘The Guga Hunters’, ‘Italian Chapel, Orkney’, (Birlinn) and ‘Herring Tales’ (Bloomsbury). The latter was wide …