The Land of Never Never


You are a woman like any other. You make plans and then watch the wind carry them away to the Land of Never Never. You exist in a permanent state of contemplative fury and lately you dwell on your body: on your own mortality. Nurturing it as if she is a friend you are trying to talk down from the bridge. Suddenly gripped by the fear of imaginary illness.

To everything there is a season. And now it seems to you that you stand on the precipice of yet another. A season of  uncertain weather.  And so you seek  compensation: another book. Another pair of shoes. Another bar of chocolate. The cliches that are the mainstays of female comfort. Props for female disorientation.

Because that is what you feel: disorientated. On a train spinning in circles. Wouldn’t it be good to throw yourself off? To stop the world for a few days and gather up your spirits like so many skirts? Wouldn’t it be good, if the world waited quietly in the wings, while you tidied the living room and straightened out your mind? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone else took a  holiday while you made peace with your house and slept for once undisturbed by the tinkle of a tiny cough heard through walls buffeted by wardrobes stuffed with clothes you cannot squeeze your bottom into?

Wouldn’t it be so very, very good?

To everything there is a season. Today you are waiting for a call from school summoning you to collect your child. Certain they will send his pale little face home with an accompanying tsk. Now you are waiting for the meat to defrost, intrigued by  the watery blood pooling underneath it. Wondering how you will ever eat it. Later you will carry on cleaning. Dousing yourself in white vinegar and dabbing lemon juice on to your wrists. The acidic stench panacea to the pain in your tummy. For don’t you need her, today, this Panacea, the Goddess of Healing? You need her to grab you by the shoulders and soothe you absolutely still. If only for a moment. But there is scrubbing to be done. No time to waste.

Housework as a barometer of your mood. Richard says he can read your mood with the vigour with which you clean. That when you stand at the sink with your back to the entire house, he can tell by the set of your shoulders that you are angry and taking it out on the plates. He tells you he knows Armageddon is on it’s way when you blow out the candles long before bedtime, as if to deprive him of the quiet bliss of candlelight in penance. And you laugh when he says this, because isn’t it just like you to imagine that it is depriving him of the most infinitesimal tasks of home-making that will inflict the most punishment? Lately the terror of losing a parent is rendering your relationship anodyne: you haven’t washed the plates at the sink in a long time, choosing instead to sit quietly next to him. Being there. Holding everything else in and still feeling that somehow or other you are failing a test set by the Gods.

You feel obliged now to have thoughts as huge as Sartre’s. Seeking answers to the philosophical conundrum that is life or death. But mostly you are simply worried that those attending the Ball on Saturday night will be able to see through your dress to a bosom that will not be contained. (Love that word: bosom). Mostly you concern yourself with the bleeding of your gums. The numeracy group to which your child has been assigned. The  water infection you have that is sending you half-mad with it’s relentless nagging. Yes, mostly you concern yourself with the domestic. The transient. With the kind of  Being and Nothingness that will leave no mark in time.

And there it is: the Land of  Never Never. A place we do not choose to go and yet can barely escape. The meat is defrosted and needs to go into the cassserole. There are carrots to be sliced. An onion to cry for.  A doctor to call.

No time to throw yourself off the train. No money to send the world on holiday. Only rhinestone sprinkled shoes and another glass of cranberry.

You are a woman like any other.

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9 comments on “The Land of Never Never

  1. Yes. And since it is a season only…there is hope for future Maybe Maybes 🙂 I'm thankful for the stuffed wardrobe and the fat hiney which means I ate good lots of times 🙂 And for the onion that helps me relieve the pain of today's nevers.
    For some reason I'm thinking of this poem by Billy Collins…hope it makes you smile 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVu4Me_n91Y

  2. Thoughts of mortality… oh yes. Me too. Unlike simple concrete things like laundry and returning books to the library and cleaning out my closet, I can't just scratch them off the list and make them go away. And then, in a moment of clarity, I have a good laugh at myself. When I was young, did I actually think I would be beautiful and live forever? I think I did. And the realization I won't comes to me in waves. As you wrote "You are a woman like any other."

  3. Its Autumn and with it comes a sort of beautiful sadness,I think our mood changes with the colder days and we all feel a little less vibrant.xx

  4. Sally Hackney on said:

    Alison, this is alot to think about but what first came to my mind is the word…true. Thanks for sharing. Sally

  5. So lovely, and infinitely relatable (apparently that isn't a word, but it's staying!) I've been staring at my home, my blog, myself, for what feels like a long time and I need to not care about that and just carry on and hope that things start falling into place.

    There's hope yet, after all!

  6. Very thought provoking post… "…mostly you concern yourself … With the kind of Being and Nothingness that will leave no mark in time." I feel a parallel with you, Alison. {hug}
    And on a side note, I have used TruNature Cranberry softgels from my health food store. With a mighty little 300mg of cranberry extract in gel capsule form, I find that it beats it before it takes hold. I don't have any sensitivities to the "other ingredients" like gelatin or rice bran oil, though.

  7. Your writing style is marvelous. I think the coming of fall is a melancholic time of the year.