Monday, 11 May 2009

Cookham House Courtyard. 4 pm, Today. It was sunny.

*A biscuit rolls on its side like a pin wheel.*

*A car drives up into the courtyard, and from a fifth story window a grey plastic package lands on the pavement with a bang. Look up and you’ll see an old woman at the window, her head covered in a black scarf, peaking ever so slightly from above. She looks on while her grandson runs out of the car and picks up the package below, bringing it back to the 1992 model grey Sadan. The door slams shut. Her son is behind the wheel, and before he drives off, they wave at each other subtly, if you weren’t looking closely you might say it was half heartedly, but this is a wave that has been wittled down with use, like the brass on their sitting room doorknob.*

*”Mom, I need a water bottle.”
Weighed down with groceries, exhaustion, and questions, not age. “I’ll get you a water bottle.”
“We can get any drinks!” Another one of the children yells, in the same enthusiastic but sharp voice they use for taunting weaker kids at school.
“No you can’t. You can only have water.”
And a few mumbles later, she’s at the door. I can barely hear the conversation anymore, but another question has been put forward. Her response is carried to me by the force of her worry, her exhaustion, and the shameless bare-all attitude of the air.
“I can’t remember saying I’d buy you a dvd. I said -------- when I get some money I’ll buy you a dvd. I didn’t say I’d buy you a dvd today. We got enough dvds.”
Last winter it snowed, and I built a fort by this bench. A wall that took me a careful, thought through hour, ignoring my laughing friends while the occasional snowball hit me. The next day a dog had peed on it and half of it was knocked down.*

*A child’s scribble gets thrown away. Only that wasn’t a scribble at all – it was a map, leading to majestic nowheres.*

*A baby cries and then stops. Starts again. Like his heart beats in desperate flutters that cry out and falter. Life keeps going, is the thing. That’s why children cry. They are trying to get a handle on the non-stop motor they’re newly caught in. If they stopped crying they might hear the sirens, the construction, the leaves rustling, caught in a rattle owned by the wind, and a single moment of music that fades abruptly, but was always there.*

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