photo by Alex Hockett
When the Ashwood Hotel went up in flames one night, Mum just nodded, a look of grim satisfaction on her face. ‘No surprise, with that lot,’ she said, referring to the bikers that had been the pub’s main clientele.
When it was rebuilt as part of a chain – all mock beams and Happy Hours and two for one curries on a Thursday night – her smile broadened. ‘I like the carpet,’ she said.
I made no comment throughout the renovation, never spoke of nights in the back bar, of the smell of spilled beer and stale cigarette smoke, of swaying to the jukebox, my eyes closed. Of tattooed hands, blue black against my skin.
At night, alone in my room, I put the radio on and close my eyes.