A Few Days in April.

Taken from my 2010 diary, written while I was living at The Blue Door, Colchester, England.

Woken up early by The Sinister Ice-Cream Van starting its rounds again and so the long Easter weekend comes to a juddering halt to the tune of ‘Three Blind Mice’. I’ve spent a sunny, quiet four days and here it ends. Soundbites come to mind and I think of letting them swim back into the air before trapping them in writing. I remember this day exactly 30 years ago, when I made myself invisible for a tiny while, paralyzed by life. That was until I realized I didn’t have to be that way and didn’t want to be, either. I survived, and still do, by managing my expectations – and that, in itself, is a triumph. It’s my victory over disappearance. Yet, still, if I knew I could control it, I’d embrace that oblivion: letting go, floating free, riding on thermals. I come up for air and go down for coffee. 

The Bash Street Kids have thrown a large boulder into my front garden during the disquieting nursery rhyme. They knock on the door to tell me it’s there and point at the rock. I adopt an air of pleasant resignation while they explain to me the need for vigilance ‘in these parts’. Two of the girls seem very bright – while they’re whispering to me ‘that boy by the palm tree done it’, I ask myself what hope there is for them here. Eventually, The Kids all agree to move the stone (using my wheelbarrow) and to keep an eye on The Blue Door for me ’cause it’s nice, innit, and a bit dif’rent’. The wheelbarrow is upturned unceremoniously onto the public footpath and returned by the tallest girl who confides in me that no-one will really ‘mess with the house’ as it’s haunted and, truth be told, everyone’s a bit scared of the place. She runs off. 

I’m into day three of a detox and realize there’s no coffee in the house. I sigh as I look into my cup of green tea. I’ve given the house a detox, too, hope it’s grateful. Four large bin bags of old paperwork have gone out and I’ve cleaned places I previously didn’t even know existed. The phone rings, the first of many calls of the day, and in my haste to answer it, I almost fly headlong over the pile of Sunday papers stacked neatly in the doorway. I remember, with a sense of satisfaction, making the time to read the whole damn lot of them this week. Don’t mistake my speed for eagerness, oh no. I know exactly why the phone is ringing and I don’t want to. All I can do to help, you see, is call and be called. But oh how I resent it, because it means I have to know. The-best-friend-that-ever-could-be-wished-for just died and I am numb. I have the energy to be angry, but shouting makes her disappear. I have the tears to shed, but crying washes her away. I have the words to say, but the more I talk about it, the truer it becomes. I pick up the receiver, take a deep breath, and start constructing that bleak reality over again.

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