The day the sky fell, Sophie’s kettle had broken. It had made a valiant attempt to survive, but they knew it’s time had come with one unwilling scree that morning. Now, her morning cup of tea was ever so slowly heating, mournfully, in the microwave.
The kettle had lasted them a fair few years; once Lizzy and her had got their own place, it was completely up to them to scavenge for things to fill it. Cutlery and plates from a friend, a couple of red armchairs from a suspicious Gumtree advert; their entire home was basically a jumble sale. Lizzy liked to tease Sophie about the mismatched strips of carpet, the tile samples they used as coasters, the curtains that were repurposed from some drab smock from the seventiesthey’d found at a charity shop. But Sophie didn’t mind. It was their place.
Ever since they were kids, they had mapped out places to visit together; castles and caves that they read about in adventure books; when they grew into their early teen years together, this morphed into the more tangible places that they could sneak away to and drink together – though the cold English fields weren’t quite Camelot. And now, as self-proclaimed poorly adjusted adults, it led to places they could live together. They’d known each other since school and had become fast friends as soon as they met. To everyone else, their inseparability seemed to be just like sisterhood; however, as they grew older, it became harder and harder for them to keep themselves under wraps. It all culminated in a midnight dash from Sophie’s country home one night. Lizzy waited in the cold, engulfing darkness at the edge of the town, the last lamp of the street barely illuminating them in the shadow. After a lifetime, they were knocked over by Sophie rushing at them from the thick black, embracing them tightly. Together, they ran far enough to catch the last bus out of town, until they arrived at the doorstep of their new home.
They built a fortress in the one-bedroom, filled to the brim with collected treasures, counting pennies and stretching their overdrafts thin to make a life for themselves. Not that this worried either of them; they were still so caught up in the novelty of having a life together that the gritted roads outside could easily seem like their own castle’s drawbridge. Sitting together that morning, hand in hand, they felt like they had finally run far enough.
Sophie brought the remains of the dearly departed kettle over to the kitchen table.
“It’s conked it,” she said, defeatedly, “it’s finally conked it, and I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye.”
“Ah… I see,” said Lizzy, gingerly turning it over by one of the many stretches of tape that plastered it in pathetic camouflage, “Were you going to write a eulogy?”
“You know what?” Sophie picked up her wounded companion and dangled it by the cord in front of her girlfriend’s bemused smile, “I just might.”
She turned on her heels and, whilst looking back for Lizzy’s reaction, opened their back door which led to two-square-metre patch of grass the letting agency had tried to market as a ‘garden’. Holding out the kettle under the grey sky, Lizzyappeared behind her, wrapping their arms around her waist nonchalantly.
“You don’t want to say bye?” Sophie asked, holding the kettle up to their faces.
“Come on, it’s going to rain,” Lizzy laughed.
“Don’t you want to say goodbye?” she repeated, insistent.
“Oh, of course, sorry. I don’t want to ruin your service. Dear kettle, you were… functional until the end.”
“That’s more like it,” Sophie asserted, placing it gently by the outside wall. Lizzy was right, it felt like it was going to rain. Suddenly, the ding of the microwave summoned them to a lukewarm cup of tea.
“I’ll get it,” Lizzy said as they uncoiled themselves from Sophie, still staring at the sky. It wasn’t the usual British grey, but almost purple. The clouds were moving far too quickly, as if pushed by a strong wind, but the air outside stayed chokingly stagnant.
“This is bloody hot, you know,” Lizzy said, carefully extracting the mug with a tea towel and moving backwards towards Sophie.
Suddenly, a scream. The mug clattered on the ground, microwaved milk foam coating the tiles. They looked up at the sky, caught fast in the thick air.
Then, with a booming scree, the clouds started to fall.
By Hannah McGregor.
A Queerativity Tale is a Queerativity original story updated by a new Queer Artist at the beginning of each month. If you are interested in writing an issue for A Queerativity Tale, please email [email protected] or fill out the Get Involved Form.