Home is Where You Are...
The night shift was over and Clive Butler aims his old Suzuki GSX homeward. It’s been another long night of the usual suspects; drunks, domestics, more drunks and the odd lost tourist.
He is dog-tired and it feels as if every limb weighs more than is humanly possible. In a couple of the final corners, Clive thinks he might lose control as his biceps protest over the weight of the metal he is balancing between his legs.
The exhaustion tempts Clive to abandon his usual routine but as always, consideration to his neighbour’s sleeping patterns sees Clive cut the engine at the end of the road. Then, pushing the bike the remaining 100 meters to his back gate, where he parks up in the garden.
Opening the garden shed he considers flicking the switch for some more light but thinks twice when he remembered the “final demand” letter from Scottish Power.
“Anyway, give it a couple of minutes and it’ll nearly be daylight” he thinks to himself.
The box containing clean, folded strips of sheets are to his left and after removing one, he commences to rub down the exhaust pipe of the bike. He knows the pipe is still a bit too hot but going to bed without cleaning the bike feels like cheating.
He drops the soiled cloth into the right hand bin of dirty items and finally heads to bed. His limp is not as pronounced any more and he hardly notices the dull throbbing in his knee. All he can think of now, is feeling his naked skin next to Sharon’s warm and sleepy body. She will kiss him better…
The house has felt terribly empty since his mother passed away a couple of years ago and he misses her every day. The only person who ever knew Clive was his mother and for a long time, Clive thought no other woman would ever care about him the way his mother did. But then he found Sharon.
As he peels of layer after layer of gear, he revisits a conversation from earlier in the evening. It was his third attempt at trying to sell the idea of a “Boys Weekend Away” at the station.
“Listen, the TT Races are blinding! Have you not seen “Closer to The Edge” guys…? Come on… it will be awesome. Just us boys, our wheels, a couple of tents and shedloads of beer! Yeah? Who’s up for it...?”
As he steps into the shower (after unfolding the floor mat and making a mental note to seal the leak from the shower cubicle on his next day off…) he wonders if it was his use of the word “blinding” or “awesome” that failed him this time. Chris, Sam, Michael and Spencer are all bikers but seem to have very little interest in riding. Or, very little interest in riding with him.
“Never mind…maybe Sharon will feel comfortable enough by then. I can teach her how to ride pillion…maybe.”
Clive’s thoughts are interrupted as he feels the water sting his neck. Absentmindedly he runs his fingers over the raw skin and makes a mental note to find the tube of Salvon after his shower. He turns off the water, steps out of the cubicle and reaches for his towel. As he turns, he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. The four parallel scratches etched across his left shoulder, blaze against his pale skin. The memory of that night still makes him smile. Sharon is the most passionate woman he has ever met and he wants to carry the trail of her nails on his back forever. He has never felt more like a man in his life.
He wonders if she will allow him to gently wake her up now with kisses and caresses… Maybe she will add some more marks on him, which he can proudly show off in the changing room at the station tomorrow. Just thinking about it makes him hard.
As he talcs his feet, armpits and groin, his mother’s words hang in the air like the spectre she has now become;
“Clive, when are you going to find yourself a nice girl to settle down with? That gang of yours…well, surely its time for you handsome policemen to calm down? You could move her in here and I would baby sit everyday… Oooh, can you imagine Clive, a little one, here...in this house. Now wouldn’t that be lovely…?”
But there was never a gang. It was only ever him riding alone. Making up friends who didn’t exist and who were never there. He loved his mother too much to tell her the truth. There is nothing Clive wouldn’t have done for his mother.
Clive puts on his folded PJ bottoms tucked under his pillow and heads back to the bathroom after sliding his feet into his well-wornslippers. He flosses and brushes his teeth and then makes sure all the lights are off, all the windows are closed and both doors are locked.
Sometimes his mother would poke fun of his bedtime routine;
“Clive Edmund Butler, are you flossing? Again? Dear Lord,one of these days your teeth will come out on that string and then how are you going to find a woman who will want you?”
She did it out of love. Clive knows that. His mother would never tease him like everyone else did.
His mother left him the house in the end and Clive doesn’t want to let her down. He is grateful. This is the house he grew up in. There are markings all over the house proving a childhood was formed here and the thought of living anywhere else is terrifying.
And now there is Sharon. Sharon never makes fun of him.
Clive sneaks up to the door and presses his ear against it to see if he can hear Sharon. He closes his eyes and imagines that he can smell her through the pale pine door. Again he can feel his excitement growing and he blushes as his hard on bulges through his flannel pyjamas. He remembers the first time they made love. She looked at him with eyes the sizes of saucers and succumbed to him with the grace of a true woman. Of course she played hard to get. She didn’t just give it away. She didn’t just spread her legs like a slut for him. She let him work hard for it. But it was worth it.
He knows it has been hard for Sharon to adjust to living with him. He wants what is best for her but his desire for her at this moment is just too strong. He can’t go to sleep without running his fingers over her stomach and nestling in her neck.
“Sharon? Are you awake my love…?” he asks as he gently taps on the door.
He knows he should let her sleep. She needs her rest. She gets so easily over excited and then needs time to calm down but Clive needs her. Now. Her taste, her smell, the way she looks at him…
He can hear her stirring behind the door and he knows she is awake. His heart pounds harder and a smile spreads across his face as he removes his slipper and lines them up outside the door. From his dressinggown pocket he produces a key ring and starts unlocking the door.
His hands are trembling slightly as he slides the newly fixed bolt across and enters the cellar.