15.29pm ( at the table in the front room)
The waist band on his pyjamas must be too tight; it has left an imprint all around his body. Lines of red. He is asleep, oblivious to my observations. I know his skin and his body. His body. His cells still and will always remain within my body. His body is a map embedded into my own. His body is a landscape, etched on my retina. I notice every nick, every bruise, every cut. I watch each heal. I apply antiseptic cream, I kiss, I softly stroke and whisper words to mend.
He has a sore just above his nose, he keeps picking it and opening up the cut when he is watching television, when he is tired and stroking his snuffly pillow into his face.
My friend is collecting Naoise from school and taking him to his after school activity. I don’t know where I would be without the kindness and support of my friends. Its all very mutual. Its all very respectful. We look after each other and our children. We are a tribe.
Naoise told P that his girlfriend dumped him. He is fine. I am just fine mum. Its all a little game of cause, they are only little. They are still friends. I think I feel sadder than him. I think I take it all far too seriously. I remember a boy I once loved, we would play star wars on the tarmac. I remember the fun and intensity of it. I think it probably lasted one summer term. My memories of primary school are very blurred, but they are all bathed in sunlight and daisy chains and long grass and swimming the lengths of a cold pool full of chlorine.. I think his name was Alan, he had dark hair and was good at imaginative play. I believed he was Hans Solo. I was Princess Leyer. I would try and put my hair up in platts on the side of my head, so I could be her. The hair fell down before afternoon break.
Syd is walking home. As I drove through Todmorden the flood sirens were sounding, it wasn’t even raining, probably just a test. The clouds are shifting fast above the hill, its drizzling, getting darker, perhaps a storrm. The leaves still cling. The autumn holds on.
I had a job interview today. I await the results. I would love to get the job, I did my best. I doubt I got it though. I doubt everything. I analyse to much. I think about what I should do next I will be sad if I dont get it, and it would be a lovely surprise if did get it.
I wait. I wait. I wait. I wish and wish and wish. I worked hard to gather together as much information as I could, to be friendly, to smile, to articulate my thoughts and ideas and experience and knowledge. Its tough. Its always tough. I smile through lipstick and tinted moisturiser and hope and a life. Life is a process, like a wave at sea, it builds momentum, things bubble to the surface. Sometimes the thoughts are clear and have true clarity and power and purpose, sometimes the things I say are unsure and confused and not at all confident. I was myself. I can only ever be me. We come in and go out. I wore blue. I thought blue would be best. Blue is calming. Blue is the world and the ocean.
Blue is the waters that sustain us. Blue is the water where our babies float and grow inside our bodies. Blue is the colour of our veins. Blue is the colour of veins in our breasts, when breasts engorge with the first milk. I remember stuffing cabbage leaves down my bra, I wonder if it worked. I tried it, it made me laugh. a
Blue is the colour of my eyes, Naoise eyes, P’s eyes, my sisters eyes, my fathers eyes. Blue is Yves Klein. Blue is Mary. Blue is eternity. Blue is sky. Blue is Miles Davis. Blue is falling, deep, down and slipping to sleep.
Blue. P is recovering, but still in pain, still mainly in bed. I remember being in bed after N was born. He bought me food on a tray and things to read. He bought reassurance and tenderness and love. I am trying my best, but its hard to care for an adult, caring for a child is easier. Its hard to balance how much care is needed. I am good at food though, I am good at routine, I am good at checking all is ok. I am good at suggesting a warm relaxing bath. I am enough. I am not a nurse.
There are lines of washing, there is washing having on railings, there are clothes flung out in the street, there is a washing line that hangs out of a bedroom window. There are cats sitting on wheelie bins, hissing and cursing each other.
There are people washing cars. There are people walking. There are people who smile. There are people who cannot give me directions to a cafe as english is not their first language, so I smile and they smile and I say thank you even though I have no idea where I am going. So I walk the streets and take photographs and enjoy the sunny part of the day. I like that I am lost. I decide that I have drunk enough coffee anyway. You could fuel an entire factory floor on my caffeine intake.
There is overcrowding, poverty and squalor.
There is an old school building that is boarded up.
There are cars slowing on the road.
There are net curtains pressed against condensation.
There are bags of rubbish waiting to be collected.
There are signs that rubbish will never be collected.
There is nowhere to put rubbish. No gardens, sometimes yards, sometimes not.
There are back to back houses, council houses, terrace houses, mainly victorian stone houses.
Damp, dark, stone houses providing home and shelter.
The lines that clung to Naoise waist are long gone, and the smudge of lipstick that I planted on his nose. Each day disappears fast. The year is drawing to a close. Syd is away this weekend. Syd will be with his dad again. There will be some time to breath.
I need to run again. I miss the rhythm. I need to loose the weight I have gained through applying and applying and applying myself. I am worth something. I have value. This has value. This recording, documenting. This self awareness. This project will lead somewhere.
The sand is always tossed clean by the wave, the sandcastle knocked down, the hole filled. There is always change and movement. Two lungs. Breath. Find the pace. One step in front of another. One piece of plastic picked up. One table wiped clean. A cuddly toy giraffe perched on a warm radiator drying.
I didn’t manage to get the job. I am so fed up of the failure narrative. I probably care too much. The research was fun. I am literally going back to the drawing board, and running. I am running up that hill with you Kate, but Kelis and her milkshake is fun too.