Torch

road

Excuse me mate, the man said after knocking on our car window, have you got a torch? A pheasant flew into me car, he said, and I think he might ‘ave damaged me radiator or it could be the air-conditioning. Do yer know anything about cars? It’s making a hissing noise, could that be the air-conditioning?

He shakes his head. Sorry, mate. The caravan up ahead might have a torch, he said, and there’s a garage about five miles up the road. Cheers, the man said, sorry to ‘ave troubled yer.

At the motorway service station there had been a cluster of starlings. They’d spun around chattering, shell-shocked, lost. They must be babies, I said, and scattered some seeds on the ground. It took awhile before they realised it was food. One of them pecked half-heartedly before the others followed suit, scrapping and flying up at each other.

 

Below my studio window there is a tiny apple tree in a pot. It is on a balcony and there are apples, six. The fruit looks fake upon the virtually leafless branches, pulling them down with their weight.

 
A large woman stood adjusting her apricot-coloured jumper in the mirror before asking a girl by the hand drier to help tie the bow at the back. Initially I’d thought that they knew each other. The girl looked wary, embarrassed. I don’t think she appreciated me asking her, the woman said to me afterwards. Is a special occasion? I asked. Very, she said and beamed revealing a missing front tooth. I’ve left me teeth in the car, she said, I’m going to put them in after.

 

The reviews kept talking about the water and the actors ‘sloshing’ about in it. I keep thinking about it. What do I think? It was meant to be a crucible, a vessel for turning base metal into gold. The circle of white light was fantastic and it remained lit throughout the performance. The water. The water was discomforting, and necessarily so, I think. What was it? A baptism, a baptism of what? So many symbols, too much to digest, to think about. Don’t think then, just feel. How did it make you feel? Moved. Deeply moved. And it is still so resonant. So resonant.

 

I heard them talking about the eclipse on the radio. I’d forgotten about it. And then I saw it, as I walked. It went pink. The moon was rosy. Then the black came and then slowly, ever so slowly the white returned. It was a while before I realised that the birds had stopped singing.