Time And Space

Entry by: KMaidmarion

28th July 2017
The Zone of Avoidance

My beautifully serene mother, placed my plate of bangers and mash down on the table mat, in front of me, with a kind of reverence and a smile. I looked at her display. The mash potato had been spread to the far ends of the plate, like a big white moon. The sausage had been cut in half and positioned in the centre by way of a nose, the other half, hidden under the mash. Garden peas had been formed into a big, wide grin and tomato sauce fashioned into eyes. "Your man in the moon" she said brightly, as I picked up my knife and fork. She ruffled my hair and bobbed a kiss on my head. She'd been doing this since I was a 8. I smiled back, bemused. I was now eighteen.

Turning her back, she picked up my father’s plate from the kitchen unit, with such poise, it looked as if she was about to display something on the shopping channels. Her face, as she made her way to my father’s side of the table, still bore that same, smooth calm. However, the plate, when it hit the table mat, told the truth of her mood. It smashed down with a clatter. I could see the mash had been carelessly thrown onto the plate, in a big, fat, dollop. A large, full sausage poked rudely out of the centre. The garden peas caused mayhem on his plate and the tomato sauce looked like lava, running down the gulleys of a volcano. My father raised his eyes briefly, swept his quiff back with one hand and tried to make a lazy stab for the sausage, but as he did, my mother picked up the salt and emptied the entire drum, over his dinner. Why I thought my father would erupt into a tirade of abusive comments, I was unsure. That wasn’t their game. That wasn’t how this went. Mimicking that same poise, my father lifted his plate and with a flick of his wrist, sent it spiralling across the dining room, like a flying saucer. Mash potato, peas, tomato sauce and sausage, splattered the pale walls and began to drip slowly onto the carpet, where Ted the cat, didn’t pretend to be annoyed, or surprised.

We all sat in the void, silent and waiting for the next episode, until my mother placed the Times newspaper, in front of my father, as was her habit. However, it wasn’t the latest paper, this paper was soggy, caked in damp cat hair and smelled strongly of cat pee. It had clearly been rescued from the cat litter tray. My father, trying not to gag, picked it up between his thumb and forefinger and placed it across my mother's dinner.

I tried to keep my eyes averted. What the hell had happened this time? Which one had upset the other, I wondered, and as I ate the smile from my plate, I knew we’d entered that time and that space; I had come to term, as the Zone of Avoidance. Aptly named after the area in space where the inter-stellar-dust particles, of the Milky Way, obstruct light, and prevent the visibility of distant galaxies. And our own zone, was just as mysterious, for this wasn’t a first and definitely wouldn’t be the last. These displays of childish malice, had occurred for as long as I could remember and I could never shed any light, as to what had instigated them.

In my younger days, and in an effort to bring this craziness to an end, or to show them how stupid they were being, I would retaliate. Once I had scattered rice krispies across the sofa, which we would continue to find, and I would snack on, for weeks. I’d even smashed my mother’s favourite vase. On one occasion I had set fire to the garden furniture. However, I’d soon got bored when these occasions went without comment or punishment. How could they ground me, or stop my pocket money, when their own behaviour was just as deplorable? And so, I had come to realise, that the best way to deal with them, was to avoid them altogether and after chasing the last unruly pea from my plate, I got up and made my way to my bedroom.

With the door closed firmly behind me, I flung myself onto the bed, spiralling mid-air, to land on my back. My chest rose and fell as a long, relieved breath, shuddered from my body. What was it with my parents, for God’s Sake? How could two professional people, behave in such an idiotic way. I was sure they weren’t from this planet. I imagined them as two extra-terrestrial beings, science and myself, had yet to understand. I’d learnt at astronomy class, that scientists had speculated for years, that there might be intelligent life out there in space, but I was struggling to find it, right here, in my home.

With my arms folded across my chest, I stared at the astronomy poster on my ceiling. One corner had become unstuck from its blu-tack, making it look like the planets and constellations, could just slip, right out of space - spinning through light years, out of control. I realised that even though light years separated them, from me, the domino effect would warp across the galaxy, sending us all into a cataclysmic, catastrophe. I shuddered again. Space had always made me feel small, helpless, and insignificant, much like I did right now, here in my own home. I had no control of my parents and their fights and my appeals and petitions had come to nothing. And do you know what, I was sick of trying and sick of waiting and sick of being in this constant zone of avoidance. It would take more that blu-tack to sort this madness out, in fact a meteorite could drop into our living room and my parents would carry on as before, so wound up in their own universe, to even care or notice.

What would it take, I wondered, as I lay there, fantasizing, searching for answers?

It would take…. It would take…it would take leaving. That’s what it would take. I would leave. I would find my own zone, preferably on another time zone. It took me ten minutes to pack my ruck-sac and two to pull down the corner of the poster, so the other three corners left the ceiling. I didn’t know where I was heading, and this map wouldn’t help, but it would remind me I had all the time and space, to work it out. As I closed the front door behind me and walked down the drive, I heard the splinter of glass and saw the TV crash through the living room window. I shook my head and kept on walking, and walking on...