This day I decided to upgrade a lampshade. I thought I knew my plan until the logistics of fitting square patches to a conical shape told me I should have paid much more attention in Domestic Science classes. Actually, to my feral and feminist credit, the word Domestic irked me even at 14. I recall struggling with both the dough for bread, the cutting on the cross of materials, the threading of needles and the, wait for it, measuring of stitch uniformity, and the name of the class, not to mention the bosomy matron who thwacked us gels out of giggles and back into the serious of Domestic. I managed to keep giggling and was good enough of an actress not to get caught but I suspect the matron knew fine who the leader was in her class of gels.
Back to the lampshade. Basically I decide, what the heck and just diamond the squares onto the shade. They stick okay but not with a really good stick. The spray glue I have selected from my arts cupboard smells like a holiday high and sticks my fingers together. I prize them apart and keep going with my apple greens, my emerald stripes, my lime spots and my moss green swirly whirlies. Mostly they stay in place even if I do need to curtail a corner from peeling away like a dancer. I feel like the bosomy matron, but without the bosoms. I work away as the morning finally wakes up to join me. It looks good. Overlapping squares even on the conical seems to work. I will have to address the rims but for now me and the material are mates. I pause to find breath outside as the air in here is heady to say the least. I find my specs and check the label, propelled by a little doubt. Is this glue?
No, it isn’t. It is high sheen varnish. Well great! Then I have a wee chat with the material and the shade. We are a triage so I speak freely. Will you stick even though I got this all horribly wrong? I check the dancing corners. They are at peace. Thank you, I say, and I mean it. Later I adorn with flower stick ons, this time with PVA, and it looks pretty fabulous. I consider the process. Me with no specs making an error; the waiting gamers waiting; the way we collaborated and succeeded.
Later I have a delivery. My new hoover. Oh, I still have Henry but he is heavy and smelly and I need someone light and rechargeable. Did I just do a Man/Woman thing there? She is sapphire blue and light as pins. I tried her around my peripheries and into corners, stairs and all the way up to the bathroom, something I would have put off for days thinking Henry. She is cordless and light and working with her is a real pleasure. I may be open to the Domestic thing with her around.
I go to the shop. I’m feeling so chuffed with myself, my triage and my sapphire best mate that I spin on lipstick. I haven’t worn it for decades, it, the lipstick on me, being something that was not welcomed, so I stopped. It takes a while to get the hang of lipstick but I am loving the practise. I set off for my shopping trip, all of half a mile down the road and then I realise, with giggles, that nobody will see my lip art, not with that mask on. However, I know I am wearing it, much like a new bra or lacy underpinnings, like a secret hug to self.
Later, after all this creative excitement, I go for a nap. I don’t nap. I know I won’t even if I sling all the logic in my head to Lady Sleep. Look, I say, finger wagging under her perfect equine nostrils, you let me go at 3 am and I am old and give me a break, but she is gone. I keep my eyes closed and may have slipped off the earth for five or so minutes, in spite of her. As I come slowly back into the room I am aware of my husband sitting beside me in a chair he must have brought with him because there is no chair there. I don’t see him but sense he is warmly there, pre dementia, strong and calm, smiling, waiting for me to awaken.
When I rise with plans for a dog walk and a wood stacking, I check my emails. There are photos of his headstone from the stone mason. The mason came like a whisper in the night, or, maybe he came today or yesterday, but I did not know. He just came. Ah, I smile. That is why you came my husband, for the first time as a strong able man. Are you telling me you are doing fine and that so am I? I decide so. Too many frickin decades together joins lives, the solid shade, conical so as to be as difficult as possible, and the patchwork materials that don’t fit, don’t fit, then do.
Sounds like our marriage.