Daydream

Really enjoyed sharing this, and the challenge of a 100 word limit🙂

woman-coffee-cup-mugBy Kazz

For the next hour I am just me.

I sip coffee and watch the people.

A young man hooks my gaze. He is writing. You don’t often see that these days.

He is young but … attractive. I wonder if he would glance at me and see past the shell of motherhood. We would talk of art and of writing and of how it could never work. Then have a delicious affair.

He looks up. I quickly look away and think of groceries.

As I leave I catch the eyes of an elderly man. He averts his gaze. He looks uncomfortable.

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Moment

She is busy today. Her mind churns and her mouth babbles away as she plays with paper, soft toys and random bits of plastic treasure.

In the midst of her game she asks me a question.

“What happens when you die?”

I feel the weight of it; one of those oddly important moments that pops up in the middle of an otherwise bland afternoon. I choose my words carefully.

“I don’t think anyone really knows for sure but there are lot of ideas. Some people say you go to heaven and perhaps you get to meet all your friends and family who are already there. Other people think you become a ghost and go floating about the place. Some people think that you just get put into the ground and your body helps the flowers grow. Some people even believe that you come back to life all over again, as a new person or maybe even an animal.”

She is quiet. She goes back to her game.

A few hours later, she is sucking spaghetti off a fork. In-between the slurping she responds to my reply.

“Mum. I’m coming back as a badger”.

Unspoken

I’m fine.

I’m not fine.

I’m OK.

I’m not OK.

Either way, it all happened. That much is true.

And now, we sit on our respective horizons looking back on our own view of all that has happened. One life. Two people. Two views. Lots of “stuff” in the middle.

It is actually fine though.

It didn’t need to have been perfect.

Really it didn’t.

As a child I always felt as though someone was missing from my life, although I only worked out who it was when I got older. Now there are two people who are missing.

It’s not nice.

But it’s fine.

I know you don’t believe me but I didn’t ever want this. I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way. In fact, I remember when I thought that it was me who could keep everyone together. I thought I would be the wise sage who would bridge the gaps. I thought I would be the hero to ‘unite the clans!’

I was so naïve in my twenties. Of course I couldn’t do that.

And now here we are. Well here I am anyway. You? You are far away. And you are never here for me. You are never here for yourself either. You are missing out on so much. Then again, that’s not really anything new is it?

But it’s fine.

I am beyond sad now. I’m dealing with it. If anything it’s just weird, like an odd sort of grief where nobody died. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

And I get it, you know? I really do get it. That’s one good thing I have from you, although you seem to have lost it; I still get it. I understand it now. I get what life is.

There was a time when you were all I had. When you starved so I could eat, when you put yourself in harm’s way to protect me, when you fought for me, when you were everything you should be.

But then I grew up.

And you grew up.

And all around us life was happening.

I get it.

We are all the sum of what has happened to us. What we see in the mirror right now is the result of all the love and the hurt and the success and the failure and the good things and all the shit stuff that we have stomped along through since the day we were born.

And that’s us. That’s people.

We are life in a bowl.

We are “shit” soup.

I think my soup came out better than yours.

I know you would disagree.

I often wonder, why does the bad stuff sting more than the good stuff feels good? Is it some sort of Darwinist survival thing that eventually stops you doing that again and again, because it hurts so bad. It doesn’t work very well does it?

Human beings are so dumb.

Or, perhaps we’re not. Perhaps one day we will become omniscient beings who forgive and understand and explain and have endless patience and pools of love for everyone we meet.

Perhaps.

But not today.

I have no anger. I have no regret. I no longer have tears either, because for you and me this is simply how it has to be. This is how it needed to be.

And it’s OK.

I’m fine.

My dream (haiku)

In the darkest place
In the bottom of my soul
A flicker of light.

I wished and I prayed
And a deep longing took shape.
My beautiful dream.

Through the bleakest nights
I clung on to my future.
My dream was the light.

When I lost all hope,
When I could see no way through,
My dream brought me home

We became good friends.
I patiently awaited
The day we would meet.

Life plods ever on
In-spite of sadness or joy.
Many seasons passed.

And, alas, real life
Plays a tricky game of cards
With dreaming mortals.

Now, there is no dark,
No need to wish in the night
Or pray through my tears.

Life is bright and good.
But I am ever hollow.
Some dreams don’t come true.

 

 

Karen Lenton – 5th June 2013.
Kindly contact me for permission before reproducing
.

On primroses, rabbits and growing up

I must have been around 9 years old when Watership Down came on TV one afternoon. I was instantly facinated by this beautiful but dark and brutal story, wrapped up in the child-like appeal of cartoon and the warm, comforting voice of John Hurt in his role as Hazel.

I have always loved escaping into animal stories. It will be no surprise that I was a huge fan of the likes of Dick King Smith, Anna Sewell and Colin Dan. But I knew straight away that this book was something different. It ended up touching my life in a way no other book has ever done since.

Whilst I no longer remember where my own copy of the Watership Down novel came from I do remember that it was already tatty and very well read by the time it reached me. I still have the same copy today. It currently sits bedraggled, squashed and out of place next to my partner’s prized collection of immaculate sci-fi hardbacks. Whilst that collection is indeed very treasured I would argue ’till the end of time that my scrappy paperback is the most loved book in our house.

As a child I certainly felt rather grown-up reading this huge paperback. It was physically daunting and filled with themes of life, death, loss, spirituality and fighting against the odds for survival. The 9 year old me readily accepted that this was no “cuddly rabbit story” but something far greater and something that I probably wouldn’t fully understand. And yet, I wasn’t put off. In fact I could barely put it down.

I had always had a problem committing to anything academic and I was forever quitting music, sports and hobby classes to try something new. So this book stands out as something that somehow kept me entranced, not just to the last page but over and over again and for many years. I must have re-read the book about 8 times before I was 17 and I also returned many times in between just to re-read my favourite passages. Even today I rarely re-read anything twice but this was a tale that seemed to offer more and more the older I got.

Years later I can look back on my relationship with this book and see that it became something of an escape from real life. I certainly wished I could be like Hazel – the reluctant but wise and responsible leader. In truth however was I was far more like his brother Fiver – weak, forever worried and severely lacking in confidence (though of course I lacked his gift as a seer).

Whilst I have not had a particularly tough life, growing up was difficult. I struggled along through the usual trials of friendships, boyfriends, body issues and the pressures of trying to fit in, against a backdrop of difficult family relationships and the far reaching effects of my parent’s divorce.  During difficult times I often lost myself in the world of rabbits. I wrote my own tales of the great El-ahrairah, I doodled rabbits and designed warrens, I lost myself in imaginary play based on the characters in the book, I even imagined that perhaps I really was Hazel but trapped in the gangly body of a skinny, unconfident, human girl, just waiting to get out and show the world what greatness I really had inside. Children have funny ways of coping with difficult times and this book became mine.

Watership Down now holds such deep seated memories for me that it feels more like an old childhood companion than a book on a shelf. It’s not just a book – it’s my book. Just as a smell or a song can take us back to times gone by those famous words “The last of the primroses were over” instantly fill me with a warm feeling of love and fondness and memories of days long gone by. This story was a part of my childhood and has woven itself into the fabric of my journey to finding my adult self.

Whilst I have always enjoyed reading, and indeed loved a great many books, Watership Down means something far greater to me. For a time, I think, it may have been one of my best friends.