Sesame Seed: The Ferry.

by | Feb 12, 2024 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Storm clouds were gathering as they boarded the ferry at Portsmouth bound for St Malo and Tony didn’t mean the meteorological kind. The weather was fine and dry with the odd wispy cloud dusting the clear blue Devon sky. The squall he was referring to had been brewing for a couple of hours and sat in the tiny back seat of his Subaru BRZ, heels digging into the soft alcantara material and legs pulled up under her chin. Her arms were tightly wrapped around her folded legs in a closed self-hug. Shirine hated travelling in cars and still refused to sit in the front. Closed was the operative word as, in this mood, his companion was closed to the rest of humanity. It was as if she had erected a steel fence around herself in order to keep everyone out.

Her mood had deteriorated throughout their short stay in London, a place she absolutely hated, despite all of the attractions a major European capital city had to offer. Like Tony, she preferred Paris and like Tony she had been there many more times than London. He had no desire to visit “The Smoke” but the meeting with the gallery owner had been vital to his plan. Shirine had taken a similar dislike to the handsome young man who, by contrast, was stricken by her. She had been uneasy and apprehensive wherever they went, which was the perfect recipe to send her into a downward spiral. Tony couldn’t wait to see the twin drum towers of the Grand Port at St Malo as he knew that the sight would lift her. However, that would be just under nine hours hence. Meanwhile it was a case of sitting back, observing and learning. His priority. He needed to know what made her alter-ego tick. After all they were here to consign it to history

This was only Tony’s second experience of what he called “The Darkness”. Since he’d learned about her condition, he had prepared, as much as any lay person can, for its truly tragic symptoms, mainly by reading about it. That said, nothing equips one for the actual occurrence, the beautiful anomaly that is BPD. He could only compare it to the years of ignorance he’d endured with Marie. You know it is meant to be bad but there is something veritably unforgettable about witnessing it. Tony felt almost sadistic in the pleasure he got from her overwhelming beauty when she was in this place yet, at the same time, his heart was breaking for her. He knew there was nothing either of them could do, in the short term, which was why they were on this summer-long trip to repair her and mend himself. They were partners in tragedy, drawn together by circumstances and an amazing quirk of fate.

The vast, low, repressive car deck did nothing to lighten her mood and similarly the narrow corridors to their cabins. Tony was thankful that, for once, he’d booked adjacent rooms as his concern for her was growing by the hour. The accommodation was neat if compact but to him it looked like the prison cell she’d left behind in the Bruce Building. Sitting on the narrow bed, she assumed the same position as in the car, head resting on her knees.

“What the Hell are we doing here? This is madness,” she groaned, the first words he’d heard in over two hours. Her intonation was different from her normal magical tones but she still retained the strange Mid-Atlantic accent learned from her many English teachers. The pitch of her voice was higher and the emphasis more urgent though. Although visually, she was stunning in this mood, when she opened her mouth it was like nails on a blackboard. Tony was torn in two between the need to stay with her, and the right thing to do, which was to leave her alone. He chose the latter which triggered a curious series of events, memories of which would stay with him for the rest of this incredible journey. As he left the cabin, Tony dared to speak.

“Don’t forget, I’m just next door”. She slowly raised her head and, flooring him with that piercing look, opened her mouth to speak. Instead of the screeching nails on a blackboard something incredible came from her lips.

“Please don’t go, don’t leave me alone.”  Her voice was like laying his head on a soft duck-down pillow. Something stirred in the pit of his stomach at the sound of this third and new incarnation of his companion.

“I’ll put my stuff in the cabin and will be right back, don’t move.” For some reason, Tony felt that he had to get out of there immediately, even for a few seconds. Something intangible was scaring him.

“Don’t be long,” again the pillow, now forced against his face so that he couldn’t breathe.

Tony sat on the identical little bed in his cabin, head in hands. His small suitcase stood in the corner of the room untouched as if in silent judgement. Was this whole idea doomed to fail before it had begun?

His head was swimming with the sound of her voices, the blackboard and the pillow. So much so that he could not recall her “normal” speech. He was also preoccupied with the next course of action. He could either unpack, shower and get into bed or go back into the unknown on the other side of the thin metal bulkhead. He really needed a cold beer.

Getting up from the cot, he entered the tiny en-suite and splashed some cold water on his face. As he held the clean white towel against his cheek, Tony exhaled into it and his warm breath spread through the cool material. Whatever the decision, he knew that he was still groping around in the dark. Only time would tell what the correct actions would be. Instinctively and, as it would turn out, with disastrous consequences, Tony decided to go back in.

He knocked softly on her cabin door, as if that would make a difference to her mood. This was met with an equally soft response.

“Come in,” the pillow again. However, he wasn’t prepared for what had occured during his short absence.

His companion was no longer sitting on the bed but lying on it curled up like a baby in the womb. The red ankle high Kickers were on the floor by the bed. Her face was red and blotchy from the tears she had shed in his absence.

“I don’t want to do this,” she moaned, “It was a very bad idea.” Tony stood in the doorway not knowing whether to hug her or turn and leave. He chose neither and squeezed on the end of the narrow cot beside her.

“It’ll be alright in the morning, it’s France, you love France, we love France.” His words hung in the air like a bad smell. Again, he went for the latter option and got up to leave.

“I’m off for a beer, I’ll knock in the morning,” he managed to tease out of his dry mouth. She had dragged him down with her and he felt helpless.

Tony turned and made a quick exit, jamming his hand in the door in his haste to get out. He managed to get the door closed behind him when he heard the thump of a wayward Kicker hit the inside. This was accompanied by a screeching.

“I HATE YOU!” Blackboard.


  1. Gavin Atkinson

    Ahh it now makes sense about the pillow talk and the blackboard but what the hell is he doing with somebody who has BPD. His own menral health is bad enough without the worries and trauma of looking after somebody who is unable to control her own feelings and interactions with other people. She is unaware of what she wants or desires. Tony is second guessing how she feels and not getting any feedback of whether what he is doing is right for her. She could even accuse him of abduction if she changes her mood. Its a case of mind play. Tony should listen to the lyrics of Mark Hollis the lead singer of Talk Talk as he experienced similar relationship issues and strategies in Dum Dum girl. But he would advise Tony “Lifes what you make it go ahead and take it” but that regards one person let alone two, one who is in love and the other not knowing what she wants.
    Im in agreement with both of them i much prefer Psris over London far better romsntic and planned out city with all the new tower blocks and larger modern structures in La Defance, particularly mimicking the Arc de Triumph. A city ive never felt scared in unlike London with a slower pace and lovely bars, eateries and pavement cafes. See you in the left Luggage next week mate. Does Shirine and Tony both like a curry lol

    • brian

      I think the clue, and the answers to your questions lie in the fact that this is Chapter Sixteen…
      See you on Friday.


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