top of page

trash stratum.

George Bidwell

The author is George Bidwell. He is a twenty-one-year-old student of literature at Salford University with six years’ worth of writing experience, including film criticism for the local paper at 13. His background has seen him working in dive bars, factories, restaurants, and childcare to earn his way, all of which he completed alongside his few novels and anthologies.

On the A47, from the passenger seat window, all is darkness. From the drivers side window, all is darkness. Ahead the lights illuminate the road and pull the tarmac from the black void it has become. We cruise along the motorway, undisturbed by the sparse vehicles that occasionally pass us. The air is all smoke. The atmosphere is cautious conversation. The smell is body odour. From the radio an unheard voice signs the praises of a modern Hard House hybrid track. The stars have hidden themselves away and the moon is but a dot upon the emptiness. Our daze ends and, within the walls of a family car, we discuss the night as it passes into morning. From our faces fall droplets that crash upon the floor and flick back against our legs. As we draw closer to home, and away from the atmosphere that is growing, the satnav is turned off. We find ourselves amongst the familiar highways and byways of life. The radio is turned up, then turned down, then turned off. The conversation reignites somewhere around Peterborough. We cover world truths, home truths, untruths. In our heads we traverse the world touching upon the cultures we fear, the cultures we embrace, and we butcher the essence of the cultures we are yet to understand. Giggles slip from our lips and the warmth of our breath joins the atmosphere in an erotic, emotive fashion. I ask you for a cigarette, you agree it is time, and I pull the tobacco from the side of the door. Still, even as the night leaves us, the darkness prevails, and at times even seems to grow in potency. Between my fingers I roll the cigarette papers across the tobacco and slide a filter into the slim curvature of the smoke. I pass one to you and hold on to one myself. We begin to twitch.

Lighter is pulled from cup holder.

The radio turns on.

Jazz is playing.

The lighter flickers.

The cigarette burns.

The sky around us folds in on itself until we are left in emptiness. The embers at the end of our cigarettes are the only lights. No single, discernible shape lies anywhere. I reach for your hand and feel it though I can not see it. Silence fills our eardrums. Our hearts begin to beat again. From the darkness forms a light, a single strip of light that burns across the darkness. A white in the void. We lean back, hold each other close, and I understand. I understand what has happened. As I feel your warmth on my skin, I see. We have fallen in love.

Anchor 1
bottom of page