Island Blog – Not like a suitcase or a door

Today I wake in the lime green light of absolutely not dawn. It thinks me that the Morning is pregnant, nauseous and letting me know. I groan. I want the buttery light that tells me is it at least 4.45am. Then I can close my eyes quick quick like a camera shutter and count the minutes all the way up to 5 which is the time chickens, babies, outside four-leggers and garden birds leap into life. Then I will perform what laughingly passes as my own leap, although I need to be cautious and one can hardly leap cautiously. T’is an oxymoron. But this lime-green morning light groans me. I had awoken oft in the dark because that flipping Barn Owl was having a party all alone on the telegraph pole, screeching insults or whatevers mere feet from my open window. I got up and gave it my best glare but all it did was that 360 thing with its head whilst its feet remained affixed to the pole. I won’t yell, I whispered, nor throw my Ponds cold cream jar at you but only because of your astonishing beauty and this irritating sense of privilege I am feeling that you chose my pole on which to screech like an old fishwife.

So passed the night and now I am flagging. Actually, if I’m honest, I flagged all day so that at this hour of the very long assemblance of hours I consider myself a high achiever in the world of flagging. I didn’t do nothing, though. Not at all. Doing nothing is so not my thing. In fact, I sometimes wonder if my not doing nothing makes me too busy to allow internal troubles to make some sense. It’s like I am ‘busy’ shutting out anything painful when I know only too well that ‘we’ must allow the pain a voice in order to heal. I tell myself that and myself usually snorts. She knows that understanding something we have read, and that makes perfect sense, has to travel a different route to actually click. I sweep the floor, very sloppily. I answer an email and work some more on one of my ridiculous fantasy landscape tapestries. This one is particularly ridiculous but I have thought that before now as I work without pattern or design only to find a rather lovely scene enfolding before me. My eyes are squint from sewing today and the rain is non-stop. I eat breakfast at 5.30 and lunch at 11.15. I am like a tortoise preparing for hibernation, going slower, s l o w e r s. l. o. w. e. r. From time to time I whack myself into startlement and we do something like go for a walk all coated in rain repellent plastic. Well, I was, but the doglet, newly shaved, was not and she decided after all of 14 feet that this was enough thanks and I’m off home now. It took me 15 minutes to get all this clobber on. Well, that’s okay. Another fifteen minutes to take it off and that makes 30 minutes which is half an hour which means the day will soon(ish) be over. Thank goodness.

I go back to thinking about the thinks I avoid thinking. Let them come in and overwhelm, says myself. No, I say. I cannot allow that. I don’t want to let that tsunami in, that one that has multiple shipwrecks inside it, smashed and broken, ruined and unrecognisable. I want to do this closure nonsense, putting everything, my life, my experiences, my marriage into a suitcase and to shut the lid. I want to slam and lock the door firmly on the past and turn away into a new life. I don’t want memories dribbling through the cracks, hissing like venomous snakes. Who the heck does? And yet, and yet, my long fingers keep reaching back through old times, to how it was, to who I was and they are the fretful fingers of an old woman looking for something she will never find. Answers.

I suspect it is natural to quest for such, for answers. I often ask myself why. Why I did this, why he said that, why she made that awful decision, why secrets secrets secrets were kept so hidden. There is a big unrest in the desert lands of Unanswered Questions. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a day with himself to get those answers and yet (and yet) I know he would never reveal a thing. He didn’t when he was alive for almost 50 years. He was obviously quite the thing about not answering difficult questions. So how do I get to a place of acceptance? I suspect there is no fast track answer to that one. Are we all mysteries to each other, I wonder? Perhaps we are and perhaps this is a normal human state, one of intense frustration right up to the end. Is death a marvellous escape? Do those who know they are dying feel a wonderful sense of relief that finally, finally, they are excused from the Accountability Class? It sounds rather kind when I think of it that way.

But life right now is like being stuck on a telegraph pole but without the 360 head turning ability. I have that screech voice and I silence it. I say I am great, fine, well, busy. We all do, I guess, in the hope that something will click at a deeper level, that my brain will believe it and invite my heart to take it in, to warm it, to beat it into new life. I know, I know, it is early days, but it is also a year, no it is over ten years of watching his secret self slowly leave the room whilst remaining in it, noisily. That is a long long time.

An irreverent chuckle comes to me in my turmoil. I have an image memory of people who won’t go. You make it obvious that after ten hours that your come-for-coffee invite is wearing very thin. They rise, eventually, but keep talking. You head for the door and open it. They stay where they are and keep talking. Now a freezing wind with accompanying rain is drenching both you and the floor. Still they talk, flapping hands and saying giggly things like ‘Oh we should go, you’ve been so kind, we stayed too long…’ You shut the door, well defeated. You didn’t offer lunch, having clocked that these good people are having so much fun that their going home just might feel like back to jail and you are not unkind even if you didn’t offer lunch. You finally get them out the door and close it quick quick. The short distance from the door to the gate suddenly looks like the road to Zanzibar. Inching, inching, inching, hearing, and enthusing about this cousin, this new baby, this new purchase, you get them through the gate.

Waving them off feels like heaven.

Maybe I will do that with my long staying unanswered questions.

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