Thursday, October 8, 2009

National Poetry Day

Mr D arrived home last night from a three-day jaunt out to Beantown. He found me in a bit of a blue mood. I lay on the bed while he unpacked his suitcase, and we talked about what had happened (or what had not happened, in my case, as I'd had a dull couple of days) since Monday.

He finished unpacking, and flopped down on the bed next to me. We discussed our individual successes/failures with our healthful diets, and Mr D noted that if my weight kept going up, and his kept going down, eventually we'd weigh the same. Gadfry! About the same as thirty-four years ago, when we first met: he was fresh off a 6-month starvation tour on a Pacific atoll, and I'd been busy eating all the ice cream on offer in the Wellesley College kitchens. Hmmm.

Mr D = Miss H. Again.

I made a little frowny face, and then Mr D said:

Fatty and Skinny
went to bed
Fatty rolled over
and Skinny was dead.

After I stopped giggling, I hit him over the head with a pillow.


Monday, October 5, 2009


I sat out on the back deck late tonight. The sky was pale and bright, and the trees were inky black, and a star shimmered, cradled perfectly in the boughs of the fir tree at the edge of the garden. I heard crickets, and a plane growling past overhead, and the whoosh of a car sliding by on the road next to our house. It was all so peaceful and calm.

I thought of a conversation I had a few weeks ago with Mr London Street, who said of a blogger he usually reads, "but she's fallen in love now, and her posts are all kittens and moonbeams and who can read that sh** day after day? It's all so damned dull." He moaned with frustration, just a little bit. Because having a regular columnist go wonky is just ever so frustrating, really. One's usual reading diet is ... altered.

And woe, there is me. Or I. Woe is it all. For I have not much to say at the moment, because I've fallen in love again with my husband, and my lovely life, and the world and its people, and I can't find fault with any of it. How feckin' dull is that?

Two and a half years ago, in the winter, I lived for a short few months in a mansion in Sunninghill. Fourteen rooms, a huge place, vacant. The owners needed someone to make it look "lived in." For £500 a month, it was mine. I volunteered. It was me and the Aga. That was it. The only two warmish entities in the house, with the Aga putting out significantly more heat than I did, my skin and bones just barely alive. I was heartsick, alone, bereft, and definitely a mess. I had ditched my husband, finding him all stubborn and boring and hateful, and I had decided to go it alone.

But why?

Why was I there? Why was I suffering, sleeping in an empty fourteen-room house, radiators turned down to "1" to save heat, sleeping on a mat in an empty bedroom, crying myself to sleep each night. Why?

What was I doing?

Ignoring my children, certainly. Having nightmares about guns and Africans. Avoiding bill paying, college tuitions, dentist appointments. Dreaming and remembering, horrified, the sound of the snap, snap, snapping of our electric security fence in Jo'burg. Evading phone calls from my estranged husband. Hearing all over again the screams of the woman next door as she was attacked, seeing again the SAPS team, scrambling over our walls with their automatic weapons, trying to secure the area.

Unable to read a book, there in Sunninghill. No knitting, no hobbies. No television, no computer, no internet. Just me, in the dark. Crying. Drinking. Sleeping.

What the hell was that all about?

I cried myself to sleep every night, and in the morning I woke up to a dusting of snow across the garden, and windows frosted half-high with starry patterns. The sun crept over my sill, glowing pale and illuminating the room with a wan light that signified nothing more than another wretched day of ... nothing. Work. Talk. Teaching. Nothing.

It was awful. And yet I didn't throw myself off a bridge, or do anything too dire. Because I was just too, too tired. It was really another me, then. Not me. Someone else.