Today is the day you are planning to plant hyacinth bulbs. The counter of the laundry room is covered in newspaper and there is a pile of papery bulbs and assorted pretty vessels waiting to be paired. You swoosh the iron over vintage monogrammed napkins and remember being in Sophie Shoes house once, a hyacinth in the bathroom scenting the entire house. Remember wanting to bottle up the fragrance and take it home, but of course you couldn’t, because the scent of hyacinth cannot be extracted, let alone bottled…
You cannot eat today. Funny how hunger ebbs and flows so very hormonally. The house is quiet. Perhaps quiet enough to hear the swoosh of Victorian skirts in and out of the village store that your little mid terraced cottage used to be. Perhaps a little too quiet. You play Serge Gainsborg and because you don’t speak French, feel released from the constant urge to apply the meaning of all lyrics to your own experience.You sometimes think life would be easier if you didn’t read. If words didn’t mean so much. If you could sit in nothingness and just be still. But you can’t. Your head churns with the need to know. Ravenous for the truth.
The scent of hyacinths is said to open the door to creativity. To stimulate right-brain activity and to inspire and motivate you with it’s heady scent. They should, you once read, be placed, anywhere you have to write, whatever it is you write, whether it be a cheque, a blog or a novel. You want to fill the house with them. Bulbs forced to motivate you on every surface in this cold house. Bulbs that say “write now Alison, write…”.
You sway as you iron. The air scented by a rose candle burning on the windowsill, its sweet fragrance masking smoky bacon that will not go away. A draught dancing around your slippered toes. Why, when it is cold, does the house feel darker? Smell staler?
You will not be cold this Winter. Will not shuffle off to bed every evening the minute the last mouth full of food is in your throat in order to seek refuge in musky lavender. You will not sleep through another Winter. You will instead sacrifice whatever it takes to keep the house warm. To make the days longer.
Now you carry laundry up the stairs, pressed tight against breasts tender with nature’s reminder that this is another month on your journey as a Mommy to just one precious child. Though you are glad he isn’t here, you miss him when he’s at school. Hear his sleepy bed time questions bouncing around the sheets of the bed he made himself. Mum, when the doctor knows someone is going to die, does he ring God to say he’s on his way? Register the bewilderment on his face when you tell him even Doctors haven’t got God’s telephone number.
You hope there is time to bake cookies to be served warm the minute he drags his exhausted, curious little self in through the door. But you can’t make out why you feel like crying when all is well. And then you open the door in to the garden and carry your bulbs and your worn handled tools to the table and plant little promises into vintage tea cups.
All is well. Soon there will be hyacinths.