It’s been a while since I written this. I’ve been busy. First the workshops, then the performance and then all the writing about it. That took longer than I’d thought. And it was hard. But good. A good process. And she liked it soooooo much. He’s tickled pink. What a generous love. And now? I am a little bereft. There is still stuff to do, inevitably but that push, that hint of panic has dissipated.
Storm Doris passed by without incident here. A few roof tiles shattered. A smattering of road closures and men in hard hats armed with chainsaws near some swaying fir trees. Sky News were here nevertheless, with a reporter in my coat. The impossibly expensive coat. Do you remember?
What else? I have a pile of post-it notes. Aides memoires. Shorthand. A list of titles. Memory joggers. I try to commit them to memory as I walk. A young man coming out of The Angel in the early hours. (It is always the early hours for that is when I walk.) His hand reaching down to pick up a traffic cone. He lurches to the right and then lifting the cone off the ground he puts it on his head. He walks forward a little till it tumbles off. Cursing he lets it fall. A girl walks towards me, her face is bruised with crying. I feel like I am behind glass, watching from such a long way away. Nearing home a owl howls in the darkness.
I don’t have to do it. And sometimes I want to stop. And yet she seems so happy to get the calls. I shall sit by the phone, I told myself this morning, she said, so that I don’t miss her. Sometimes it is just the answering machine. She is out walking with the neighbour’s dog, or she hasn’t heard the phone. I can feel relieved, but then disappointed. It isn’t what we talk of, that is inconsequential, mostly. It is the connection, the separating out, the making her feel special. And she is. I want to fall into the cosiness of her. We talk of feeding the birds, of a wren that comes to her bird table. She has not been well. I walk at sea, she tells me. It takes a while before I realise she is talking about vertigo. Do you have a stick? I ask
There have been bats. In the mornings before dawn, bats lured by our headlights. Bats shooting in front of our car. Tiny swooping black things, like giant moths. Watch out. But they always miss.
A girl in pink tights and a lime green tutu is leaning against the railings of The Academy. Her companion, a young man in black, picks at the peeling paint and says, Elin, Elin, Elin, I’ve just said it now, word for word. His head hangs low. He is frustrated, irritated. She looks down at the pavement, listening but cowed. On Great Darkgate Street, another girl in the exact same outfit, waits, staring. Another girl comes towards me, part of the great surge after closing time. She is beautiful. Dusky-skinned with large almond eyes. Her sense of personal space is to pot and her face brushes close mine. She belches. Close to home a student in a hoodie is leaning against a doorway, is he asleep?
My sensibilities are keen in the early mornings. Smells are acuter and sights are almost wondrous. Walking up the hill behind the Alexander Hall, my reverie is cut into by a figure coming out from one of the many alleys. I hear her before I see her. Gazelle-like, she is skittering down the path in high heels and a short silk dress. Something shiny hangs about her shoulders. A sequinned bolero jacket. We are both equally alarmed. It’s the suddenness. A thief in the night. Her eyes stare. Accusing.
I catch the tail end of radio programme hosted by Paul Gambiccini about the Oscars. He plays excerpts from Twelve Years A Slave. Harrowing. The director, Steve McQueen talks about the importance of showing the horror. I cannot watch it. I know such atrocity but do I need to watch them? A violence to the soul. I can imagine and it is terrible. Some people’s lives. I cannot understand. All I can do is feel for them. Know their shoes.
So what of it? I am pleased with it. I am pleased to have done it. To have seen it through. There was power in it, for me. My ideas manifested. Getting them outside of me. I’d worked hard. There’s power in that.
Time for rest. If I will take it. We shall see. For today, there is just Proust, peace and porridge for tea.