Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Familiar

When I am happy, it feels like indulging in a fun activity for a while,
Novel and heady and quite exhausting
By the end of it, I'm ready to scurry back to my soundproof melancholy.

Happiness is like that wonderful old friend who knew you  when you were a child -
predominantly in petticoats, terrorising pigeons -
who, for even five raps of the cane across her palm, wouldn't tell on you.
Long lapses of time are spent working up to her visit.
You will show her the sights, spare no expense
lavish her with that gratitude you've safe-kept in some shadowy recess of the heart all these years.
But she arrives and soon it is time for her to go
and you haven't even left your living room.
Crumbly photo albums have been brought forth, wine has been spilled
and batter been devoured before it had the chance to become cookies.
"Do you remember the nut job who'd follow you to the egg vendor's each day?!" you'll chortle.
"My god, I cannot forget," she'll laugh. "Do you remember the way we were?"
"I do," you'll say. "I do."
Right then you are that child once more; incorrigible and vulnerable,
your instincts crackling, possibility thundering in your ears, gossamer clouds of hope everywhere.
Disiloojene...menent sounds like something best left to the adults.

Once you've waved her off and her bus has turned a lane and out of sight,
you walk back down the street, so pregnant with quietness, it's like a silent scream.
Your thumping heart once more slips into its familiar, dopey cadence
you're back to your tea-and-toast evenings, pegging away at that mountain of bills,
the brain no longer an implosion of noise and colour.
Edges and shadows roll back into focus.
Your empty house seems to regard you kindly.
willing to let the last few hours (was it days?) slide without mention.
You stumble upstairs to bed and lie there, dead centre,
until sleep tip-toes in and your eyes no longer brook protest.
You forgot the locks, but then you never have interlopers.

1 comment:

Kavita said...

I can quite identify with this. I did dinner with Lorraine yesterday and we laughed an embarrassing amount. Also, we came to the conclusion were were daft twits as children and our own offspring shouldn't hope for much better.