The 24 and a half hour shift

by Gillian Gourley

I remember sitting on the corner of my bed
Tears halted, breath held
I knew her well, she would knock

The insults had flown thick and fast in the dark
I’d stood sentry as the two girls’ performance unfolded
‘You bitch, you cow, you think you’re all that’
My resolve of composure dissolving like salt in warm water
15 hours into my shift

She saw it in my eyes, returned with a look of confusion
This is Gill, My GG, she doesn’t flap, she’s ok, isn’t she?
I’m not sure now, this isn’t right

The onslaught continued loud in the still house
‘You toddle off to bed now you bitch, night, night’
Ham flew into the air from a midnight snack
Sticking to the ceiling like a plaster on a wound
A sudden relief in the tension we all laughed

She saw her chance and grabbed it
Checking my pooled eyes threatening to spill out
Like an overflowing basin
‘I’ve had enough, I’m going to bed’ she mumbled
All three of us retreated to bed

I remember sitting on the corner of my bed
The knock came
I removed clenched fists from my eye sockets bringing
Myself back into the moment
I opened the door
‘Night GG’ she said and held her arms out for a hug
15 hours down, 9 ½ to go