Pixi has been marooned. She sits on the steps in front of her flat in triple pain. Pain one is tummy pain made worse by the cold stone against her bum. Pain two is the pain that fills the hollow where her troublesome wisdom tooth was. Pain three is the agonising despair of being idiot enough to forget her keys at home. This, after she'd also forgotten her passport at home in the morning which cost her 20 minutes and 3 trips up Seven sisters road. The builders that were people-gazing outside the shutdown-Blockbusters watched her traipse up towards Holloway road with smug confidence; then they watched her running back towards Finsbury park with arms flailing, in absolute horror and anxiety; and finally they watched her stumbling and half running back up towards Holloway road in a state of defeat and asthmatic panting.
Now after the drama of her morning interview, which she miraculously wasn’t late for (bashtaaaards, didn’t even ask to see her passport!), and some grocery shopping on her way back home, Pixi thinks that it’s a fine day to be locked out of one’s house. If only it weren’t for the salmon, which needs refrigerating, she thinks in an afterthought, as she shuts her eyes to the spring sun and basks in its warmth.
After a moment or two she feels a shadow on her face. Pixi opens her eyes half expecting it to be her Little-sis with the house keys. But of course, it is not.
"Greetings!" It's that nameless Djinn-Boy that pretends to be The Boy That Never Was. "Did someone knock you down?"
"No. What are you doing here, it's day-time?"
"So. I can't remember establishing any ground rules whot stated explicitly that I could only appear at nights. Do you need a hand getting up?"
"No. I'm fine thanks."
"Ok then." the Boy sits down next to Pixi. "What are we looking at, the ugly blue Vauxhall Astra whot is parked yonder?"
"No, the inside of our eyelids." Pixi closes her eyes with some irritation, hoping that if she ignores him for long enough he'll go away. Alas, it isn't to be.
"So," he says after a while. "Did you guess what my name is?"
"Oh come on. You can give it some thought now."
"I presently have more pressing matters at hand, like being locked out with fresh fish, so I’d really appreciate it if you'd take your Rumplestiltskin business some place that cares for it."
"..." the Boy is silent then. In fact he's silent for a whole 10 minutes. It makes Pixi wonder if she's hurt his feelings. After enough time has passed, she begins to feel bad.
"Oh alright then, it'll pass the time I guess."
"Yay!" the Boy instantly shakes off his sombre demure.
"Let's see," Pixi thinks of Djinn names "Singgam?"
"Ok, stop right there, I know what you're doing. Firstly, Maymuna is a girl’s name, and secondly, you can't expect to throw 1001 Arabian Nights characters at me and expect one to stick. It's like me assuming your name is Qamar Al-Zaman, or Sinbad!"
"Sinbad and Qamar Al-Zaman were guys."
"Dude, how should I know? Can I just give up? And any way, the longer I sit here and talking to you the more passersby are gonna think I'm crazy."
"Coz it looks like I'm talking to myself."
"Wha- you... Oh my God!" the Boy guffaws heartily, "You think I'm invisible?!"
"Well yeaaaaah, aren't you?" the Boy keeps laughing until Pixi starts to feel a bit silly. "Ok, stop it please." Suddenly He does just that. He looks at Pixi half fondly half
amused. Then as one of the little Somali kids that live a few doors down, scampers past them for the umpteenth time (so that Pixi has fantasized in a moment of cruelty about knocking one of them down with a swift back-handed slap to the back of the miscevous head) the Boy says 'hey' and waves at the little Somali girl with a smile. The girl pauses, smiles back at him shyly and then trots off self-conscious like. "Oh," says Pixi, realising how wrong she was. Suddenly she is very serious. "Ok, what or who are you really?"
The Boy returns her scrutinising gaze with something that is blissfully carefree. He then raises his hand to her cheek. Pixi is completely thrown off by the gesture. As he brings his face closer to hers, her stomach churns nervously.
"Your left cheek is really fat!"
Pixi gets angry then, and slaps his hand away, "Idiot!" she yells.
"But why is it fat?"
"I had my wisdom tooth removed, that's why! And just talking to you is making my wound bleed, so piss off and leave me in peace!" she turn away from him and starts checking her shopping bags to see how the fish is faring.
"I'm sorry." the Boy says. He sounds really regretful.
"It's fine. Just leave me alone."
"Ok, but can you tell me what a wisdom tooth is?"
Pixi turns back to him in disbelief.
"This is exactly my point." she says. "Someone who doesn't even know what wisdom teeth are cannot expect to understand what it is to have them. And someone who cannot know what it is to have them, couldn't possibly know what it feels like when they are taken away. Basically you shouldn't even be allowed to talk to real people with real problems and real pain. Your cluelessness verges on the insensitive. Now, good day!"
With that Pixi leans back and closes her eyes against the sun again. She senses the Boy's hesitation. Eventually she hears him get up, and feels his shadow pass over her as he slouches off. After five minutes have passed she opens her eyes to find that he really has gone. Inside her, hiding in some crevice of denial is a little regret. She ignores it and closes her eyes again. As the minutes tick away the little regret finds the confidence to crawl out. Slowly it begins to grow. And when another shadow falls on Pixi's face, this time she opens her eyes with relief that the Boy has come back. It is not the case, however. Casting a shadow over Pixi is her Little-sis.
Little-sis looks angry. She looks like some air-headed Korean chick from her Uni of pretentious, politically-incorrect, Neanderthals has approached her again asking her to help her find some ‘angry Muslims’ who might care to feature in n Islamaphobic documentary. This is the kind of people Little-sis goes to Uni with. Rightfully so, she is usually angry.
When Pixi gets back into the warmth of the bachelorette-pad, she is still full of restlessness. To make matters worse, She finds out that a Volcano has erupted in Iceland; that the atmosphere is full of volcanic ash; that planes can’t fly in all that muck; that airports have been shut down; and finally that she hasn’t got the job she was interviewed for that morning. In a state of despair and utter failure, she channels her exasperation into making Sushi, and trying to pronounce the Volcano’s name whilst rolling up the sea-weed:
It hurts the space where her wisdom-tooth once was.