Alex Townend




A Few Regrets

He was from somewhere close to inhospitable – the north of Russia, maybe. His act involved tearing guests from middle aisles and inserting them into backless chairs. He would pitch his waxed palms sideways and dribble towards the ceiling – it was all kinds of hypnotic and creepy. They each shouted out a few recent regrets – one middle-aged man with shaking peppered wrists had not seen his kids for weeks. His excuse was one of awkwardness – his plus one was close to leaving. A young woman, wrapped in various degrees of cascading, milky knitwear, had sautéed her husband’s meetings suit with cauliflower and chestnut mushrooms. When everyone laughed she sort of did too, a strange and lungless gurgle – this was probably all part of the act. Some silent twins, who wrote alternating chapters of a mystery novel from separate bedrooms, had passed out next to a patio heater – both sides of their necks were badly burnt, their raw knuckles a cute shade of red. After forty or so minutes he had run out of volunteers. He squinted past the swiveling stage lights, like a witness to a lunar eclipse. I slunk deeper into my seat, thinking about the night before last – about how it was just a little regret, but the kind that swells and welts, like a sink that no longer swallows, or an ache you choose to ignore.





Alex Townend is a writer and musician living in London. He is a graduate of the Goldsmiths Creative Writing MA and is currently working towards his first collection of poetry.

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