You’d never think to look at him


He’s a ditch digger, a share milker, a psychiatrist, he works at the University as a lab technician, he’s an electrician, he’s a PhD student with a particular interest in the economics of European integration, he has three children of his own, he has no children of his own, he is a step-parent of two teenagers, two toddlers, he is a foster parent who cares for at risk children who have been removed from their biological parents, he lives alone, he lives with his elderly parents, he lives with his wife and six children, three of whom are hers, he lives with his boyfriend who is much younger than him, who is much older than him, who is more or less the same age, he enjoys tinkering with old motorbikes, he’s no good with engines, he once played the role of Joyboy in West Side Story, he has a good singing voice although not good enough to go professional, he can’t dance, he likes cats but not dogs, he likes dogs but not birds, he particularly hates pigeons, he has a large music collection, mostly Jazz and Opera, he doesn’t like Opera, he enjoys going to night clubs, he prefers a quiet corner in the pub, he grew a beard in his twenties to cover up a scar, he has always been clean shaven, he likes to ski, he likes to read poetry on rainy weekends, he likes to visit art galleries, he can never bring himself to care for modern art, he dislikes museums because the staring eyes of stuffed animals make him feel queasy, on weekends he likes to go horse riding, tramping, to movies that involve car chases and explosions, he prefers European films, especially French comedies, they always have such interesting endings, he’s an organ donor, he gives blood, he doesn’t give blood because he doesn’t like needles, he doesn’t give blood because he lived in Wales in the early nineties and the Blood Service won’t take his blood because of the very small risk he is a carrier of mad cow disease, he has no visible means of support, he owns the best house in the worst street, he rents the worst house in the best street, he enjoys gardening, he walks to work every day, rain or shine, he takes his car most days, he likes to drive fast, he drinks coffee but never after two in the afternoon, he drinks chamomile tea as coffee gives him headaches, he will not eat mushrooms because they give him a rash, he’s been a vegetarian for over seven years, he’s eaten meat all his life but has often thought about giving it up, he was brought up Catholic but no longer takes communion, he goes to Synagogue twice a week, his wife is Jewish too, he’s not married, he has no religious affiliations but is spiritual, he’d like to find more time to just be himself, most of the time he’s happy in his life, often he finds he does not like himself, he has lots of friends but no one really knows him well, he has only a few close friends but those he has feel they know him better than they know themselves.  



Claire Orchard was born in Wainuiomata, grew up in various Hutt Valley locations, and now lives in Wellington, where she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2013. Her work has been published in Penduline PressTurbineJAAM4th FloorSport and Landfall.