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Some Numbers
of Cruelty


It was only when, after many anxious weeks, she finally convinced herself that she had, on that particular occasion, done nothing wrong, that she realized quite what a crafty bitch she was.


I never feel guilty about anything. I just worry about whether I should.

When we talk to each other we do our best not to forget what each other has just said. Sometimes it becomes difficult and each drifts off while the other is speaking, we each think of our own day or the way in which what was said before, when we were still listening, impacts on something we once ourselves did or were perhaps about to say. We become worried about what each other will say next, whether it will make sense and whether we will understand, given that we were not properly listening to what was previously said. We both seem as if we are drifting off until suddenly at a certain point we each come to feel as if the other is saying something that is similar to something we would like to say too, but we can’t be sure that we have completely understood, so neither of us says anything.

—It was awful.
—Because it wasn’t.

She didn’t want to feel O.K. about it. She didn’t want to be O.K. with the way she felt because being not O.K. with the way she felt was sort of the same as feeling horny, which wasn’t something she necessarily thought was O.K., or good, but then good was a name for a lot of things she wasn’t sure she was O.K. with, like career development or unconditional love, which as well as being just corny had always seemed to her more like a demand or trick than a gentle judicious elbow in the ribs when she most needed it. She didn’t want not to end up alone in an unconditional tizz and feeling really fucking lonely, because sometimes when she was lonely she felt really fucking horny, and the place she made for herself when she was there, where nothing was really O.K., felt a bit like the way she once felt when she said ‘SNAP!’ even though the card she played bore no resemblance to the card she claimed, but which she took for herself anyway.

Honor Gavin is a writer from Birmingham.

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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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