Red Tea Cosy

He bought me a tea cosy. I’d thought I’d wanted an old-fashioned one. You know the kind, knitted in a complex pattern, multi-coloured though rather drab looking, the epitome of 1950s cosiness. He called me from The Mecca, sellers of coffee and tea. They’ve only got modern ones, he said. It’s a kind of half-moon and large. Which one do you want, red or black? It’s fine. Clean, fresh and simple. We don’t live in a cosy way, he and I. We don’t have enough stuff and I lean toward the austere, if truth be told. Well, spartan at least. Cosy is for other people’s houses where I don’t need to feel responsible for the dust. Now I need the confidence to try it out. I get used to do things the same way. I’ve got used to my thermos cup (which leaks) and breaking those habits can be uncomfortable. Give it a go, Ellen. Small things, eh?

My back is all tightness again. A tightness of fear. It’s the writing. Julia Cameron used to have to drink to write, I understand that totally. I see his face, his expectations, and yet it is a mirage. He asked me to do it. Not somebody else. So I shall write as me.

‘There is no true life. Your true life is what you end up with.’ I re-listened to Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grown-ups and wrote down this quote as I worked. The character who says it is Poppy, a hundred-year-old man who lives with Rebecca the main protagonist. I love it. It follows the same lines of that song by John Lennon. Was it something like Watching the Wheels?

On Mondays he rings up the health food shop with our weekly order. Now that is cosy and brings it home all bagged-up. They give us herbs, seeds and spices in little brown paper bags for me to decant into jars. The smells are gorgeous – cinnamon, fennel seeds, cracked pepper and turmeric.

No one about this morning. All was still. He has a funeral today. The deceased requested that colours were worn. No black. All the great and good of the town will be there. The wake is at the golf course. I watch from the outside looking in.