What’s it like out? he asks as I go in to wake him. I love the regularity, the repetition of the words of our life lived together. It is generated by him mostly. He did the same with her. And she always giggled. They wrapped her up those sayings, they coddled her. They were the continuum, the unchanging steadiness of a cosy life. We have ours now. What’s it like out? Drizzly, I say. Not what they promised. How’s the weather, who I see, if the kids are out drinking, if the tide is in are the questions he asks. It isn’t the passing on of information but the ease of the sounds. The familiar, the known, the uncomplicated. What’s it like out? Wet.
It was manic in work yesterday. Too many people. All speaking Welsh, feasting on cake. You don’t know what you’re missing, he said, biting into a fairy cake. She made them. I didn’t know. A cool girl. More than a little cold. Is it shyness? I try not to take it personally. Yesterday she spoke to me, but only later when the rush had gone. She thanked me for doing the permits. It’s OK. She’d made the cakes. It changes her aspect. A maker, a creator. It changes how I see her. I watched her pack away her cake tin. A nice tin with a metal handle. Do remember the endless round of biscuit tins? They were the cake tins of my youth. Though not at home. Mum didn’t make cakes. It wasn’t her thing, baking. But my grandmother did, my English grandmother, that is or was it Nanny? The other, the Norwegian one, probably could but didn’t in my sight, at least. We saw little of her. Fleeting visits. The boat, the sea-sickness and the language I couldn’t fathom. How does it feel to sit amongst a crowd of people and not understand what they are saying. No one is at fault. It is what it is. I try to switch off, to let it roll over my head, but bits of words embed themselves there and come to me in my sleep. I cannot spell them – sounds like ‘bobod’ – is that something to do with people? Individually they are all kind, good people, en masse they unsettle me. I am adrift.
Adrift. Stay with it. How would it be to not plan, to not seek, to not ……how would it be to be still? Just still. Not doing. You want to achieve in your life what most people achieve in six. I thought that it was a good thing, now I am not so sure. Are we only what we do?
The drizzle is clearing. Will we get to Aberdovey? The piece is written. I fret over it. I need to complete and send. It is enough what I’ve done and I have made the criticism gentler.
I think about bits of plastic bags caught in trees looking like birds, I see them as we drive by.
To be still but moving. I am still in the car but moving. It’s a perfect kind of stillness. Don’t you think? Or is it cheating?