36. You're Just On My Mind

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Perhaps it's the colour of the sun cut flat
An' cov'ring the crossroads I'm standing at,
Or maybe it's the weather or something like that,
Mama, you're just on my mind.

He's out there. I can hear him. I heard him come in this morning, just after it got light. He didn't come into the bedroom. I've lay here for hours listening to him moving around. Opening a window. Dragging a chair across the floor. The clink of glass on glass as he pours drink after drink. I don't feel like I've slept. I know Ricky hasn't. 

All the thoughts inside my head are driving me crazy. I need to talk to Minnie. She'll have had time to calm down. She'll listen to me today. I can apologise to her and perhaps, there are other things we should finally talk about too. I should try to make peace with Cat as well. I haven't ignored her on purpose but I suppose I have been preoccupied with other things. Maybe if we can clear the air, there might be a way forward for the Raindrops.

Silently, I get out of bed, pull on a pair of dark blue jeans and a black short sleeve shirt. I examine myself in the mirror. My eyes look red and sore, my face is pale. I drag a brush through my hair, pulling it back and tying it up. The most I can manage today.

Taking a deep breath, I slide the door to the lounge room open. Ricky sits in a chair by the window. He rests his feet up on the window ledge, leans his head on his hand, his elbow on the arm of the chair. He holds a whisky tumbler in one hand loosely, the liquid tilted, dangerously close to spilling. He has his eyes closed, breathing slowly and I think he's asleep until he says, 'You're still here then.'

'So are you, and alone,' I say, but immediately regret it. This arguing, this constant sniping at each other, helps no one.

Ricky mutters something in Italian. I cross the room and stand in front of him. He looks up at me without moving his head. His eyes are heavy, drunk.

'You look terrible, Ricky. Why don't you go to bed for a while? Sleep it off?'

He snorts. 'You sound really... what do they call it?'


'Where you're from.'


'No, the accent.'

'Liverpool. Scouse.'

'Yeah. Scouse. You sound really Scouse. A lot more since you've been hanging around with your little friends again. All that money Maurice spent tryin' to eradicate that. Teach you and your fuckin' sister to sing. Waste of time. Might as well try to teach a fuckin' pig to sing.'

'Have you told him?'

Ricky sits up, taking his feet off the ledge. His head lolls drunkenly. 'Told him what?' he says, an aggressive undertone.

'Told Maurice you're leaving him. He's not your manager anymore.'

'Oh,' Ricky says and falls silent. I think that's the only answer he's going to give, but then he shakes his head, causing him to sway slightly. 'You girls beat me to it, didn't you?' A sick smile on his lips. 'How could I? Raindrops split up and Ricky West leaves him on the same day? Fuckin' slob would hang himself.' He gets to his feet, putting his hand on the window. 'Can't do it, can I? Can't fuckin' do it.'

More muttering in Italian. He tries to put his glass down on the window ledge, but misses. It falls to the floor, spilling, making a dull thud as it lands on the carpet. Ricky just looks at it, like he doesn't understand how it got there.

'You shouldn't,' I tell him, quietly. 'You shouldn't leave Maurice.'

'And why would that be any of your concern? Why would I give a shit what you think, baby?' He straightens up and takes an unsteady couple of steps towards me. 'Need me now though, don't you?'

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