I get myself in a tizz over nothing it seems. My body is rigid with it. The rain lashes outside, though it was dry, thankfully, when I walked earlier. Some mornings the most that I can do is go out and do the food shopping and come home. I do my best to rise to the occasion, for we must greet the people we have come to know there. The managers, the under managers, the shelf-stackers, the other shoppers, who like us are out at 6 am, and the staff working the tills. Morning, campers, called out one man whom we see most mornings there. He looks like an ageing Roy Orbison, for he always wears dark glasses and his hair, long and dyed black has that same distinctive fluffy, brittle quality. His over-cheerfulness gives him away. Is this hard for him too? I want to run. He stands his ground and chats with him. We talk to S on the till. It is expected. It passes the time of day, he would say. He is singing when we get to his till. He talks about the job he had before. Too much responsibility, he said. I’d get home and I’d be worrying. No, this is better, he says, it’s just beep, beep and then go home. Perfect. His Liverpudlian accent makes the word like treacle and ends it with a k. I ask whether he will make pancakes. No, he says, my sixteen year old daughter makes them. He chooses a mixed pack of mini cereals for the food bank and it takes me back to staying with J and how we’d fight over who got the Coco Pops. I loved those little packets. Anything in miniature captivated me. And to be able to have something entirely to myself. I could give way over the Coco Pops, as I often did, Frosties were fine, I even secretly preferred them, not liking the way the Coco Pops turned the milk brown. J wasn’t a natural host, or indeed grandparent but to stay away from home was nevertheless a treat, and I loved the sparse, neatness of her house.
I want to spend another day working on the alphabet piece – I think that is the struggle, not feeling I can justify it to myself. And yet, I’m trying to find something, a way of working, a path and it needs that time, that dedication to unfold. Let it be. Allow yourself the time.