Sitting in the front window admiring the ruby red geraniums in the hanging basket across the road. Wondering how to deal with the astonishing mess two pigeons have left all over the conservatory roof without the hiring of some scaffolding. Hoping for a downpour of Noah’s Ark proportions.
Today then. Magic to be worked with a make up bag because my face is sporting the impact of too much food and not enough sleep. Tootling into Liverpool in the newly fixed car to collect Mark’s Mum. To spend the day with her. To take her away from all this. To take her for coffee and then to visit her son Simon, who is terribly ill in hospital: sorrow swimming in his veins after his Father’s sudden death. Ignoring Mark, who said “Don’t go. You don’t need to see this” because this isn’t about me. Nor what I can bear. I am, at least, stronger than that.
A fistful of vitamins. More nonsense to be taken to the tip. An odd-job man calling at four to do the odd-jobs. Two dreams about affairs with men I don’t know, so raw I open my eyes and confess them to Ste like so much adultery and he laughs because I am silly. And I am allowed my own head. Always. Tonight my first session of Buddhist meditation because that same head needs hushing. Worrying about entering a room full of strangers by myself. Daring myself to be brave regardless.
The detritus of a busy weekend still scattered around the house. Gold foil H’s sprinkled over the carpet as though my Helen has been leaving a whisper of herself all around the house. Bewilderingly, a 20p piece sitting at the bottom of the toilet and refusing to be flushed. Money down the drain. Two new pairs of flip-flops in the middle of the living room. The ironing board still standing in the kitchen as if waiting for the charlady to arrive. Soup we will eat tonight burnt at the bottom of the slow cooker.
A new ethic to be employed if we are to live this life. A course to be taken in September. A new direction. And willingness to learn. A new, astonishing commitment to each other. A stack of virtual books to be read in my Kindle, if I ever find time to read in anything other than the piecemeal way I have been managing lately. A child’s room so tidy I thought I had woken up in the wrong house. His explanation “I couldn’t stand the mess anymore” a singular source of ludicrous pride.
Olive bread to be baked. (Though it won’t be as good as Kath’s). Simple lunchbox cakes to be fashioned from cornflakes and dark chocolate. Fingers mildly swollen and hay-fever tickling my nose. A new car soon, thank heavens – because we can’t go on like this. Next week, a half-term that has arrived way to fast. This week, preparations for the disruption to routine that must be allowed for. Another party to attend at the weekend. Though this reluctant social butterfly knows not whether she is coming or going. A strong cup of Rocket Fuel instant coffee to tip me over the edge.
Rushing now. Hopping barefoot across the gravel to fetch the milk. Muttering to myself about getting out into the front to deal with the weeds appearing through the cracks. Planning a vegetable patch. And pots full of color. Blowing out my morning candles so the house doesn’t go on fire. A phone-call that divides loyalties. A new, preposterous, obsession with badly written ghost stories found on the internet. A leak in the fridge. A tiny pot of rich dark chocolate mousse that must be resisted. The lovely hum of the washing machine. The racket of the NutriBullet. A smoothie full of goodness to cast away my sins.
Sudden enormous waves of gratitude. A hard won life that feels charmed now. (Quell the fear, Lady.)