I heard it before I felt it. A pitter then a patter on the pavement behind me. I looked up. I thought it was a sudden rush of wind in the trees. It was still dark but the morning was coming up, bringing its blue and I could just make out the spots on the ground. Nothing on my face or head. Not yet. Summer rain brings gorgeous smells. The earth seems to open to it, porous and thirsty. It smells of longing, of promise, of visceral life, teeming. It didn’t make me wet. It was a kiss, a breath of freshness.
I tried to write. I tried to take that second-hand advice about how the artists should not be their own critic but just make. Just make. Just write. Just write. The right to write. I’m trying to find something through my writing and to get to it I must go through the murk of clumsiness, of awkwardness of excruciating lumpen-ness. There is no other way. I think. Least not for me. I want to take her guidance. I want to work like she does, with all that petite elegance but it is not my way. I’m trying to loosen up, to find my expression. Mine.
We went down to what he calls the ‘Coll Fields’. Groundsmen were marking out the white lines on the pristine grass for the school’s sports day. There were too many people coming and going. I wanted to lie on the grass and show my skin to the sun. He kept having to cover me up. Someone’s coming, he kept saying. I let him do it. It was nice to be so protected. How I loved him yesterday. The grass smelt divine. Summer days. A group of Muslim men, some in those long kaftan-style over dresses they wear hung back near the car park, talking. They must be cool in this heat, he said. Then two women drove up and left their car. Where are they off too? he said, cross and territorial. He talked about cricket and how his Dad taught his brother, and playing tennis on the grass courts. All his life is here. Cambridge is forgotten.
House cleaned. Hot work. Spots of rain on the window. Lovely. Work now. I may keep the silence for a little longer.