You may not value it but you’re a good housekeeper, he said during supper last night. But, I do value it. I have accepted it as an important part of my, no our, daily life. Housekeeping calms me. I like the order that it gives our life together. It is a gift I can give to him and to myself. It is not nothing, it is something. The endless lists, the meals planned, the washing and ironing done, the mopping of floors, it is all part and parcel of a rhythm of living, of existing, it sees us through. No, I don’t bring in much money, I never have, it is not something that drives me, though the safety of it is always nice. (A line from Joni Mitchell’s Boho Dance sings in my head: ‘Jesus was a beggar he was rich in grace’.) My existence is small, and when I am gone it will be gone too like a wisp of smoke, unremembered, unimportant. And that is OK. I like this falling away. I think about the things I can begin to let go. All those images of past work, let them go. I no longer need them. And my work. It is important and it is unimportant. It is like the housekeeping, a necessary act of doing that can be forgotten as soon as it is done. A modest life. Modest. Small. And it is OK. I have done this well, this marriage, this love, this care.
She turned and smiled at me, and said goodbye. Usually a rather hard-faced girl, moody perhaps. I don’t know. But yesterday, after I’d touched him on the arm and thanked him and said he had a lovely voice, that’s when she smiled at me, acknowledging my presence. What a turn up for the books. It was nice.
He has a friend that we see walking up and down the hill. A childhood friend, a once close one. The same age as him. He is a small man with a big head. He lives alone now that his parents are dead. He walks everywhere, seeking company. He goes into town for breakfast, porridge and a latte, and reads Dickens. He had two on the go. I don’t know what his voice sounds like. I’ve only seen him, never spoken. They were great mates once. He left here for a short time but soon returned and never left again. There are many like that in this Welsh town, homebirds, homeboys unable to leave, not because of the beauty but the familiar, the safe, the mother’s milk of it.
A blowy morning. I walked under the light of the moon. I saw the woman with the bag for life though she was sans bag. Music pumped out of the Pier, kids shouted.
He didn’t get wet.
Another cup of tea and then some sewing. I’ve a quilt to get on with. My gift to him that is a long time coming.