The Tile by Veronique Kootstra
by Veronique Kootstra
‘Waiting for change always seems to take longer than you would expect.’
Amy must have read this sentence thousands of times. If it was a saying by a famous writer or philosopher she might see the point, but they’re her mum’s own words. The yellow tile stands out against pale blue wall; the writing is done in black, calligraphic letters.
Amy didn’t even need to go to the toilet, but she desperately needed some peace. Her mum was going on and on about this ‘spiritual experience’ she had with this stranger she met in the queue at the local pharmacy. Ever since her dad left Mum six years ago she has turned into a hippy or as she likes to call it: ‘her Magical Revival Journey’. “You should go on a MRJ of your own Amy. It’s just what you need.” Her mum said earlier while stirring her moss green brew made of weird herbs.
Amy washes her hands. She tries to scratch off the remains of her flaky nail polish. As long as she has something to do that stops her from looking at that stupid tile. The hand towel is strategically placed besides the yellow square. Amy dries her hands with her eyes closed.
For the last ten years she has been waiting for her life to change. Waiting for her 65-year- old boss to ask her if she wants to take over the music shop; waiting for Mark to leave her; waiting for her dad to finally pick up the phone.
She raises her left fisted hand next to her eye. Amy smiles as her fist smashes into ‘Waiting’. Specks of blood decorate the pieces of tile now scattered on the granite floor. “Amy.” Her mum knocks on the door. “Are you alright?” “Yes Mum, I’m fine.”
Veronique Kootstra was born and raised in the Netherlands but has lived and worked in Edinburgh for the last nine years. She fell in love with writing when, at eight years old, she won a short story competition for a story about Tutankhamun. After studying journalism back home, she moved to Scotland for a change of scenery. Through attending courses she got back into writing short stories, flash fiction and features and one of her articles was published in The Scotsman in 2008. Not wanting to lose touch with her mother tongue and combining her love for film she also writes for a Dutch film website.