Internal Combustion Engine and Christmas Crackers

I only remembered the tail end of it. I was in some sort of hospice or rest home. There were many other women there, mostly middle-aged like me. We were friendly towards each other, connected by a common experience of being unwell. However, being there helped – we all agreed that we were feeling better for the rest, for stepping out of our domestic, busy lives. We were all seeing consultants, men in suits and white coats. Men who looked over the rim of the glasses at us. Two of them had gone for lunch and I was alone in their consulting room when they returned. I’d been looking at a working small internal combustion engine on the floor, knowing that it was part of me, or at least symbolic of one of my organ. Was it my heart? They weren’t angry that I was in there, more happy that I was interested. You see, one of them said, you’re behaving like you are still young when you are not – you are asking too much of it, he said, pointing at the engine.

The supermarket is getting full with Christmas stuff. Above the bread were large boxes of Christmas Crackers. He saw me looking at them. Can we not bother with those things? he asked. Can we just do lights, candles and carols and not go to church either? I said yes, but reluctantly. I like to go to take communion but, like him, I don’t want to bump into neighbours either. If only I could go somewhere anonymously. It’s hard in a small town, even if few people know my name. But the crackers haunt me a little. I know they are a waste of money. Gimcrack tat, but they tap into a childish love of such stuff. The glitter of it, like snow domes, it, they give me something like joy. Just a frisson. I’ll go with whatever you want, he said in the car. I know. I might not bother, but it would be nice to think maybe.

My alarm went off early. Is that a full moon thing? I got up anyway. It’s nice to have a stretch of time.

Nervous about the call. And about the writing. I always am. Sometimes I just want, need to keep life small, pocket-sized.