Gail Honeyman’s short fiction will be published in New Writing Scotland this summer, and has previously been shortlisted for the Myslexia Short Story competition. Eleanor Oliphant is her first novel.
Read the synopsis below
I hadn’t been expecting it to happen that night, not at all. It hit me all the harder because of that. I’m someone who likes to plan things properly, prepare in advance and be organised. This came out of nowhere; it felt like a slap in the face, a punch to the gut, a burning.
I’d asked Billy to come along with me, mainly because he was the youngest person in the office; for that reason, I assumed he’d like the music. I heard the others teasing him about it when they thought I was out at lunch, sniggering like schoolgirls. I suppose I could have gone alone. It’s just that I’m very, very tired of always doing things alone. I knew nothing about the concert, hadn’t heard of the band. I was going out of a sense of duty, because I’d won the tickets; they were donated to the Christmas charity raffle, and I knew people would ask about it when the email went round the office.
Billy had a pint and I was drinking sour white wine, warm and tainted by the plastic glasses they made us take into the hall. What savages they must think us! Billy had bought the round, to thank me for inviting him. There was no question of it being a date - we looked like mother and son on an outing. I suspected he preferred boys anyway.
We drank from the plastic glasses, got comfortable in our seats as the lights went down. Billy hadn’t wanted to watch the support act, but I insisted. Everyone supported someone else at one time, back before they made it big themselves. You never know if you’ll be bearing witness as a new star emerges, never know who’s going to walk onto the stage and blow you away.