In the night I listen to the wind rising up like an angry woman. By 3 am she has bullied the curtains into a right state. The snapping of upset floral chintz wakes me with a start.
Gunshot, I tell myself as I burst up from another of my apocalyptic dreams. I had just been wandering across a dead grey wasteland, somewhere beyond Thunderdome, and looking for my children. I can’t go back to sleep to find them once I’ve left the dream.
The curtains lift out into the room exposing the window glass, but no light falls in, for this night is just plain black. The only light, if I can name it such, sneaks up the stairs from its source- that disco ball of a mouse.
You would think, wouldn’t you, that shutting down my laptop would shut the rodent down too? But nothing will persuade it into sleep and on it glows, red and blue, all night long, but irritating me a little less tonight, as it lights my way down the stairs and all the way to the kettle.
During the day we had visited a little school over the hill. The sun was warm and yellow (well, maybe not warm) and the sky ice blue with scuds of snowy clouds as we climbed our way up, over and down the hill. The little isles were still where we remembered them to be, but faded a little inside a veil of mist. Ewes with their bright white lambs, peppered the roadside and, behind a wonky fence, slow cows peered at us through long russet fringes.
Neither the island husband nor I had remembered to make packed lunch.
We spent an hour in the light bright classroom on little plastic chairs, discussing her plans to decorate a school shed with beach gatherings; bits of fishing net, bits of rope, colourful plastic, shells and so on. The children do many beach cleans during the summer and after a big tide, pickings are treasure for those who care to think so. Ideas flew like swallows around that little classroom and we could just see how wonderful it would be, once we got beyond talking about it, of course.
The children came back from some outside adventure just as we were leaving, all breathless and excited, their cheeks rosy and their mouths full of chatter. We watched them settle in their places around the wide tables. The teacher introduced us, and explained the hut project, the abstract design ideas, the use of shape and texture and lots of colour. I wondered if those little heads could imagine what we had imagined.
I burped ten times. said one little girl a propos of nothing.
Green burps, she continued, then furrowed her brow.
No, not green………what’s that big colour Mrs Eden?
The big colour? We were all wondering.
Big as your dad? asked a little tousle-headed boy.
No, silly, she replied. Nothing’s big as that.
As we drove back along the little winding road, sucking toffees to quiet our growling stomachs, we considered big colours a bit smaller than a dad, and we felt the awe of it.