The sweet sigh of relief when the house is yours again and silences becomes it.
The first cup of coffee you sit down to sip in a room that needs a hug. The stain of a red wine glass marking the coffee table and a pair of abandoned socks lurking on the blanket box. Why oh why oh why?
A list in your hand. Things that must be done. (Though without a car you will struggle – The clutch must be replaced). The child met on foot on his way home from school. Something financial to be arranged on the internet. A Father checked upon after a day gadding about at Lords.
A week’s menu planned from the myriad of leftovers in the fridges. Tonight a salami and feta affair with veg roasted in smoky paprika. Tomorrow a sausage casserole.
All the usual suspects trotting up and down the lane. He who drinks already passing by with a blue plastic bag full of cans. Cars pulling up outside to gawp at the house that will not sell in what was once your back garden.
A kitchen fragranced by basil. Lavender at the back door. A pot full of rosemary for remembering. A fortune teller at the weekend. A woman who knew your Mums name as soon as you sat down. Do Sue and May mean anything to you? Dis-belief suspended because she gives you no choice.
Concern for your boy. Because he spends too much time scooting around in circles. Three hours in the garden just going round and round. The need to crawl inside his mind and invade his privacy so prevalent because you cannot help but want his truth. Pink bunting fluttering along the fence. Pots of greenery to fill up the deep bed that must be planted soon. Lovely pictures growing damp in the little brick shed.
A yard brush and a new watering can on your shopping list. Peri-menopausal black hair growing spiky on your chin.
A slice of burnt toast topped with cucumber and black pepper. A windowsill a dragonfly has chosen for his grave. A black candle burning on the sideboard. A pot full of dying succulents though you had assured yourself it was barely possible to murder them. A busy, lovely weekend that has taken too much out of you.
Sometimes, on a Monday morning, when the house is yours again, you think about going back to bed. Crawling under sheets cooled by the open window. But sleeping wouldn’t get the kitchen floor mopped. Nor let you enjoy the bliss of standing in the morning sunshine pegging out the first load of wet washing. Sleeping is the enemy of getting things done. And things do have to be done. There is no avoiding it.
And so you will do them. For you cannot start the week with an over-flowing laundry basket. And you must collect the bottle of milk the naughty milkman now hides down the side of the conservatory for he has convinced himself, contrary to all evidence that points otherwise, that the milk mafia are trying to ruin his round by stealing every pint he delivers. There are beds to be refreshed and re-made. Windows to be flung open everywhere. The washing line tied back up after you took it down in fear of your scooting child garroting himself. A wasp to be chased out of the farway room. Clarry’s lost snuggly dog to be hunted down.
So much to do. Though you would rather be watching Odd Mom Out. Or reading The Housekeeper. You would like to be drinking coffee with Kath. Or baking pretty cakes no-one will eat, just for the photo opportunity. You would like to be travelling down to Oxford and spending the day with your family. Visiting a gallery or sitting on a grassy hill just staring at the whole world.
There is so much you would like to be doing. And so very much that must be done. Carry on Housekeeper. Carry on.