Seabrook Road, Newton Heath, Manchester


42 Seabrook Road. A semi-detached red brick council house in Newton Heath, Manchester. It has a green front door, or in this case, side door, as its not at the front, but the side. It is a horrible colour, drab green, like the wood chip on my bedroom walls. Beyond this is the hallway, and looking from the door you will see a door on your right, to room full of music, mystery, and dying cats, twitching, vomiting, and purring out last moments of life on newspaper. Opposite this, next to the meter cupboard upon which sits a purple trim phone with a silver, easily opened lock protruding from its dial, is the bathroom. A room with a bath and basin, populated with the memories of a naked, vomiting, alcoholic mother, a wasp sting to the sole of the foot, and listening to Piccadilly Radio, Andy Peebles, and reggae in the weekly bathing ritual of a Sunday evening.

Next to this were the stairs, and beyond that the toilet, an isolation cubicle with its own short corridor and two doors. It contains teenage shame, projectile vomiting, and a black cat, halfway out of the window, it’s tail slowly wagging.

At the far end, opposed to the front door, was the entrance to the living room. In here: smoke, silence, dysfunction, dust, and a coffee encrusted carpet, glue sniffing, moving, glowing, growing wallpaper, a comical cat falling off the TV, and a ZX81 running a flight simulator game where the sky is white and the ground is black. A real fire replaced with soulless gas, moths around the lampshade.

Off this bay windowed sea of smoke, the kitchen. Extended, experiments in cooking by a bad vegetarian, a chip pan full of solid lard, a burning grill, baking fairy cakes, eating raw cake mix, a crate of brightly coloured sugared waters, delivered weekly by mobile sugar dealers. Frozen fish fingers, vinegar salad, cardboard beef burgers, tinned fruit.

And out into the garden. Huge, invaded, climbing trees, spats with neighbours, doggy friends, birthday football, exploration, loneliness, freezing in the starlight. Halloween Party, time capsule, failed fences and attempts at urban farming.

Marijuana plants in my room, on the stairs, magic mushrooms drying on a plate beneath my bed, pink powdered speed in leather zipped pocket. Sat tripping in the garden. Locked out. This is not home any more. A single frozen star offers hope, as the tall grass writhes in sync with the painful loneliness inside.

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