Tarmac & Skin


It has taken all day to get to this point. Slow, slow, slow. Sometimes the sun shines and then it is grey. It feels as if it may rain. Its breezy. Its warm but not too warm. I am wearing a cardigan this afternoon.

Couldn’t get Naoise up today, he wanted to sleep and sleep. Then he had a shower, and he wanted to shower and shower. When at last I got him dressed, he kept shrugging off his clothes. When at last I got him to sit at the breakfast table he wanted cheese on toast but he wouldn’t eat that, then he wanted honey loops but he didn’t want to eat that. I gave in. I got him to brush his teeth.


He scootered and I ran beside him. We were late, but not too late, the doors to the school were still open.Patience. Parenting requires the upmost patience. I do not always feel patient. I fear the clock ticking, ticking too fast. I can never keep up, we are always late. Being always late makes me feel ineffectual.


The lolly pop man talks to me. I explain to him how difficult Naoise is in the morning, he smiles and nods and smiles.


I wake and he is asleep. The sun streams over his blonde hair. His skin is pale, almost translucent. I look at the freckles on his face. I look at him breathing. I listen. He looks so fragile. He is moving as he is breathing. He is heavy and relaxed. His finger nails are long.


The children have chalked onto the playground surface. Signs and symbols. These chalked marks are intriguing, a language, a counter language to the painted graphics. The tarmac is skin. The tarmac is the surface that my sons feet tread on. The playground is held within the institution. It is held and contained by the high wire fence.


He is outside playing. I am  inside the house working. I hang out the washing, there is so much, it does not all fit on the line. I clear up the dishes from breakfast. I wonder how I will ever tame the wild piles of plastic, the unopened letters, the pairs of shoes, the lego, the bags, the books.


The birds are singing. Last night I went for a walk with Syd. It was so wonderful to spend some time with him. We saw swallows and fat lambs and rabbits, lots of rabbits bounding away from our presence.


Syd talked to me about his dad, we talked about where we were living  and where we might live if we did not live here. We talked about the ear piercing that he wants for his birthday, I told him that I only got mine pierced when I was 22.

The birds are singing.

A train rattles past.

Cars on the road.

The wind moving through the leaves of the trees.

Bikes and scooters and wellies and walking boots and red flip flops.

Only six weeks till its the summer holidays. Only six weeks to pull this place together, make it neat and tidy. Tidy and Neat.

Beep Beep Beep Beep…..beep beep beep beep the buzzer sounds.


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