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Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

I'm toying with this idea. I felt the desire to write something for the first time in a long long time. I only have a rough idea and the four bare beginning first-draft paragraphs. It's still the skeleton of an idea at this point, the skeleton being the truth and the story being the fictional flesh I intend to build around it. I'm not sure if the memory is still too raw to process, it has been years gone. But write what you know, you know?

Here goes -

I pressed the bare skin of my legs against the cool concrete of the rooftop garden as I laid down, shading my eyes and looking toward the ledge. There was no one else up here with me, but Alex would be arriving home from his fathers sometime within the next few minutes. I closed my eyes briefly before moving my gaze upward to the blue tarpaulin above my head, my eyes readjusting to the shade.

The rooftop garden wasn't a garden as such, at least it hadn't been originally intended that way. On afternoons like this the makeshift tarpaulin shade was the only refuge from the heat, the huge glass windows of my apartment along with the plastic siding only served to let in as much heat as possible during the summer. The apartment building had been aptly named, not without a sense of irony. I can only hope that the architect had never intended for The Glasshouse to be, well, like an actual glasshouse when hit with the full force of a British summer sun. It was an ugly building and stood out against the old paper factory that was alongside it. But the rent was cheap and it was close to the bustle of the city centre, that is why I lived there. I couldn't speak for Alex, he had no need to be so near to the city as he rarely left the apartment, save for his bi-monthly visit to his father. He didn't go out for groceries, preferring instead to get his food and alcohol delivered to his door, the latter of the two being more important to him. Even his dealer stopped by at his apartment every week or so. Alex had never been short on money either, so the rent for the place couldn't have been a particularly important deciding factor.

The rooftop garden had been a late discovery. One summer night last year, Alex and I had been drinking in his apartment with the windows wide open to let in the cool night air. We had fought, as we so often did, and I had climbed out of the window onto the balcony. He followed, so I had used the window ledge and balcony rail as footing and, precariously balanced for a split second, somehow propelled myself onto the roof (As time went on and I went up there more often, it became much easier to climb). He hadn't followed me that far, instead cursing and throwing the glass that held his vodka and coke over the side of the balcony. I heard it smash onto the concrete 5 floors below us followed by a slam as he angrily climbed back through the window and shut it behind him, still cursing to himself.

There hadn't been much up there that first time, a few lonely flower pots half filled with dried up soil and long dead plants, there was also the blue tarpaulin and a lot of bird shit. I remember at the time being particularly struck by how bright the city lights had been that night, an intoxicated haze had perhaps settled over my eyes by then and intensified it, but I remember how beautiful it was. I had crawled under the old tarpaulin and fallen asleep, to be woken early the next morning by Alex calling my name, his voice strained with worry and slurred slightly. He obviously hadn't slept and was probably still drunk. He was always like that, back and forth. I was sure that he hated me when he was drunk or high, but he also needed me. After all, nobody likes to really know that they're alone.

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I am a 24 year old British stay at home mother to a two year old boy. Married to a U.S. soldier and currently living in Germany.

I have seen the Vatican from the very top of St Peter's Basilica, the mud in the World War I trenches outside Ypres. I have walked through Montmartre side streets bustling with people in the evening, gotten lost in the streets of Greenwich Village NYC, run through cornfields on the Welsh border and sat outside with a cup of tea watching fireflies in the fields of the outer Chicago suburbs.

I have held the hands of others through addiction, fear, suicide, despair and come out the other side. I have left everything behind to begin anew.
I have fought mental illness and walked through snow in the mountains of the lake district, England. I have explored the morgue in the bowels of an abandoned hospital on a summer evening, climbed to the top of scaffolding on the outside of a five floor warehouse to look at the city lights of Nottingham at night and I have watched the sun setting on the Texas horizon.

I have held my son's tiny hand through the plastic window on an isolette in the NICU ward. Walked, speaking only in whispers, through the catacombs beneath the ground on the outskirts of Rome and seen the fireworks over Heidelberg castle.

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