Monday, 27 October 2008

Hanging in the balance

I knew that I had made a promise but I couldn't’help it. I had been pacing my small kitchen to my own rhythmic drum, the tempo increasing as I heard laughter from above. My legs shook, my ice cold hands trembled.

I had been told to stay downstairs, that I was to show respect in order for the ‘right’ to happen and that I should trust what had been promised; that the call would be the last, and then it would be over and our lives would return. The problem was, I didn't believe it.

After ten minutes of pacing, I opened the kitchen door and as I stood in the doorway I planned my route across the wooden floor to avoid dangerous spots that would signal my move. I was reminded of the childhood games with my brother where we would find ourselves trapped on a sinking ship or island surrounded by quicksand. We had used our survival skills to escape and get to the safety of the sofa. I needed those skills, for it was fight of flight; I was choosing fight.

I made sure there was some noise to distract my crossing by turning up David Attenborough’s soothing tones on the television; would the lioness survive? Then, with a lightness in my step I stayed close to the wall and successfully reached the my first safety point. I could hear his voice, he hadn’t closed the bedroom door and niceties of their conversation caused my breath to stutter as I swallowed a scream.

Poised for the next step, I took a large stride through the doorway, the floor creaked echoing up through the pipes, I balanced on one foot as I heard his steps across the floor and the bedroom door close. Taking advantage of his movement I made two more steps and landed on the bottom stair. My heart raced with adrenaline. I looked up to the zenith, fourteen steps was all I had to take. I shifted my body around and climbed two steps on all fours, my legs and arms reaching to the corner of each step. I stopped, deep breath, two more, then again. As I stretched out my arm to the next step, it creaked, my body froze as did their conversation. It soon started again as I pivoted onto my behind. I had made it halfway and their conversation was clearer. There was laughter. How dare he laugh? I tried to make a mental note of the random words; they may come in useful as evidence: Oxford, Canterbury, conference, weekend. I needed to get closer. I re positioned myself and begun the climb to the top, three steps to go and another creak - my knee was positioned on the lose board, if I lifted, the alarm would be signalled and my position compromised.

Slowly I reached out and laid my torso on the landing, my legs unable to move. With stealth, I pulled myself along the wool carpet burning my chest, I tried again to move my knee but all I could do was stretch my legs out behind me. I was in a Mission Impossible position, balanced on my stomach, thankful for my paunch , arms and legs in a starfish position. I steadied my breath and pricked up my ears.

I was not hearing what I wanted. Pivoted on my stomach I stayed for fifteen long minutes, unable to go forward or to go backwards. When the bedroom door finally opened, he stepped out and over my body which was still hanging in the air of betrayal.

“I knew you were there” he said as he descended the stairs, “Do you want a cup of tea?”

Monday, 20 October 2008

Comfort

It is a proper blustery October day. On my drive to work this morning, there were showers of burnt orange leaves littering the pavements; a montage of colours and textures.
The sky is grey and dull, I want to be at home snuggled with Martyn, on my sofa, the fire ablaze, homemade leek and potato soup watching Goodnight Mr Tom. That would make me happy, very happy indeed.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Movement

It was my birthday last Thursday. It is official, the countdown to 30 begins so I need to make the most of this year. I received some lovely presents including the biggest box of Jelly Belly beans I have ever seen and I am enjoying the flavours, not so much the peanut butter one though, or the jalapeno. Hot!

On Friday I went to the Bargate Monument and Gallery in Southampton to see the new visual art exhibition: In the Flesh by Billy Cowie. Upon entry to the darkened gallery room, I was given a pair of 3D glasses and told to stand on a raised platform, which is the best viewing position. The piece starts and dancer Sara Popwa who is on a zebra-print mat begins to move; it is beautiful to watch. At one point I wanted to reach out and touch her hand. I became part of her dance as she effortlessly stretched and moved outside the boundaries of the mat. I felt slightly sad as I thought about her being trapped in this art form and only coming alive through 3d glasses, but then that is the beauty of it, I was there, with her.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Handful of Stones


I planted a small stone over the weekend. It can be found here. I enjoy taking the time to notice and enjoy what is taking place around me, I think it is important to take pleasure in the small things and to smile at their beauty.
I smiled a lot over the weekend.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Pepper's drool

I have just returned from my morning meeting. It has been a bizarre day so far and I am wondering what might happen this afternoon.

Firstly, the lady that I met with this morning, who owns a self- catering property asked me to help her carry her wet washing. I became her laundry assistant.
Once in her house, we had a conversation about a swede; she was apologising for the smell of the swede, explaining that her friend had given it to her. Fair enough the conversation was relevant (there was a pungent aroma to her house) but to talk about a swede for 5 minutes - I struggled.
We started to talk and I went into 'sales pitch' mode to which she kept responding with words I didn't understand, especially the random french words that were thrown into most of her sentences. I just smiled and sipped on my coffee.
After half and hour, our meeting was brought to an abrupt end by her black Labrador who was happily devouring my ham, lettuce and salad cream sandwich. Pepper, had sniffed out my lunch and removed it from my handbag; she wasn't too keen on the lettuce or the cling-film but the rest was gone and I was left with nothing other than a diary covered in drool. This led to a few minutes of awkwardness with Pepper's owner apologising profusely whilst offering me some lunch money and me telling her not to worry. It was a table tennis style conversation.

I left with £3.00 and no sale.  

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Earthy leaves

I love October. It is my favourite month of the year and not just because it is when my birthday falls (although this year I have a complex about my birthday; I start the countdown to 30).
I love the smell of the air and the crispness of leaves underfoot. I could drive through the countryside for hours in October looking at the beautiful colours on the trees. I drove to Abergavenny on Saturday and was transfixed by the scarlet reds, burnt oranges and the many shades of green as they turn to brown. When the low autumn sun lights up the tree tops, the colours come alive with such vibrancy, that I want to put on my wellies and go for a walk where I can kick the leaves releasing that earthy smell. Kicking leaves reminds me of visiting my grand parents in Winchester; walking back from school along Chilbolton Avenue, shin deep in crisp brown leaves, kicking them high in the air with no thought to where I was or who might be watching.

As the nights draw in I get ready for the winter; my first log fire is lit in October giving the homely smell of dry wood burning. I like the cosiness of being warm indoors with a glass of red wine and a good book. To me, October is about cosiness, pulling everything in and around me tight to keep warm and settle down.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Tracks

My eyes sting. I am blinking, on average, every other second. The white of my eyes is red and dry. They have been expelling saltiness all afternoon. They hurt and feel heavy. The weight of the world lies within my eyes. I have tracks running from my cheekbone to my jaw; white salty tracks.
Sometimes I want to close them, lids closed tight, warm, moist and protected. Forever.