I have been up since silly o’clock. Drinking too much coffee and trying to fix something that won’t be fixed. Frustration tempered by the bliss of working by candlelight and making Finley giggle when he discovers me somewhat drunk on caffeine. Some days hysteria rather sets in doesn’t it? Some days hysteria sets in and you find yourself dancing in the kitchen.
During the night there was a hailstorm, an auditory fright of relentless gunfire on the conservatory roof. So many ambulances went by: the blue lights illuminating a tangle of dreams during which most memorably I served Ste a rat pie and vomited in horror when I realised, before insisting that he wash it down with a pomegranate smoothie and calling the police to investigate what had possessed me.
And now I am here and it is so deliciously Wintery and snuggly I really rather wish I could invite you in. Serve you a slice of warm banana bread straight from the oven and share secrets over our teacups. I wish you could smell the amber candles burning on the tray on the coffee table. A brass pot laden with succulents glowing next to them. The blind over the window pulled down so I do not have to share my hygge with the men still nipping in and out of the outdoor loo in my garden, occasionally waving to me when I stand washing dishes in lavender bubbles or popping in to say that the fuses have blown and can they do something fiddly to my fuse box so they can carry on using our electricity to build the house in the back garden. (I do hop they aren’t powering a generator). Sitting on the wet step to remove dirty boots before they trudge in barefoot and spending so many hours just standing chatting over dirty mugs of tea that is quite astonishing that the house has gone up at all. I think I might miss them when they have gone.
I have the weekend to myself. Tonight Finley will be spirited away to Mark’s house and Ste went to work this morning and will not return until late tomorrow night. He will sleep and then return to work on Sunday morning until Monday evening. Thank heavens then for a promotion that means these endless exhausting shifts will be no more: for the blessing that a nine to five routine again will once again be. For the joy of a job that will challenge him.
But for now I am alone. My laptop my companion today and drinks with a friend planned for this evening. Tomorrow I am going to fashion Christmas for our plans have changed and suddenly it looks as though I might be in sole charge of creating the very first Christmas Day I have ever had to conjure up for a house full of guests: a rite of passage that strikes me at the grand old age of forty-four as proof that I am no longer the child someone else will look after. Though I am still blessed by Mums. My own Mum’s sister Barbie always at the end of the phone, Ste’s Mum a reassuring hug whenever I need it and Mark’s Mum, who rings me and though she has long been my shy, reassuring friend, tells me that now my Mum has gone, she is my Mum and makes me want to weep tears of relief for this unexpected kindness. I am blessed by Mums. And by those of you in my Living Room who know all my secrets and let me in the safety of our inner sanctum, spill out my sometimes ugly guts.
I quite like being alone. Watching the world go by. The girl with the mustard scarf she wears like a roll of carpet around her neck. The jazzy little geriatric in the leather pants who wanders up to the post office for a newspaper each morning pulling at what is left of his greying quiff. The Siamese cat in the little terraced house across the road. Entire days could be spent just watching other people spend theirs. But there is work to done. And as a reward for doing it, at the end of the day there will be a book so painful and elegant I cannot begin to describe the joy of it. Though joy is not quite the right word: but how else is one to describe a book that tells of unrequited love and loss in fine detail that both manages to get under your skin, create the subdued loneliness of another place and time right there in your bedroom, and have you looking forward to stepping in to that place though we anticipate only anguish when we get there? What is that? If not joy then what? The very act of reading – the experience of it, bewilders me.
I am hungry now. Caffeine burning a hole in my empty stomach, but hungry for I know not what. And isn’t that the most awful thing? To know not what we hunger for? Cheese on toast or freedom? A bowl of soup or a day lying in the arms of someone we love? I am hungry and rambling as I so often find myself doing in these morning pages. I am hungry and the kitchen floor could do with steaming. That pile of laundry carried up the stairs and tucked away. The problem that won’t be fixed tackled once again with determination. The steps up to the house sprinkled with salt so none of us kill ourselves on slippery hailstones. Maybe a trip to the shops for something that will make me feel beautiful tonight. And afternoon nap in orange blossom sheets?
I am hungry and wish someone else could tell me what for. I want to feel sated by life all over again. I want to read books like Winter for always.