The Cold Dry

The wind is bitter. An east wind that blows low along the ground. I watched it catch up a plastic bag. It had been lurking around a bin in the Castle playground. Then all of a sudden it was raised aloft, high into the air. It danced, dived and turned around and around before dropping hard to the ground. I stood for a moment by the hydrangeas, listening for their rustle before another bag, a transparent one, crashed sharply against the edge of the trimmed lawn. The wind stirs up the flotsam. It makes the ground white with cold. Dry with cold. The cold dry.

We were the first to arrive at the supermarket. The shelves were still bare. Shelf stackers stood in huddles unpacking vegetables and fruit. They talked of football and rugby. A restricted code of players names and tactics. Another language. Male talk. Male banter. This cold saps one’s strength, one’s resolve and desire to do anything but stay in, hot water bottle on the lap. But it is done. All unpacked and done. I like the routine of our week. The taking care of it all. Lists made, meals planned and then this glorious space in which to work.

I will write it. I will write it for me. I think about who I am writing it to. Myself, obviously but who is the reader. I write for him and for her, though I suspect she’d never want to read it. How would I have felt if my mother had done something so confessional? Would I have jumped at the chance to know her better? I believe I would. She revealed so little. I don’t know whether she was introspective. It wasn’t comfortable for her to be so, I suspect, as it wasn’t for him. I am not like┬ámy parents, I never have been. I am grateful for them. They have been the means of this experience of life for me. The conduit. Can I let them go now? Now that they are gone. Can I let go of the desire to please them? It is futile. A waste of energy. I think about where they are, and indeed who they are. I think their ties to us were slight, in life as in death. I am glad. I like to be free.

I wanted sunlight yesterday. It shone so warmly, a red light on the roofs. But when I went out into it it was cold. I leant against our car and closed my eyes. I let it touch my face willing it to warm me. I wanted to do so much, to walk, to stride out and yet I also wanted to sleep, to lose myself into unconsciousness.

My dreams have eluded me the last few days. I like to remember them. I get a sense of spaces, of how spaces feel but the details have been lost. One came back to me as I walked yesterday. An image of South Marine Terrace with all the houses shot through by Storm Eleanor. Their walls were punctured and stuffed with a cotton wool-like substance. Did it unsettle me? I don’t think so. The damage was being dealt with. Everything was a little surreal, even in the dream.

I think about her as a mother. She is so capable, so steady, a changed girl. I am so proud of her. Such a gift.