Thursday, 20 October 2011

The hour before

I don't need to get up so early. I could stay in bed for another hour, rush into the shower, pull on the clothes I laid out the night before and be out the door in thirty minutes.



But I don't.

Instead, I slip out of the dark bedroom and head downstairs, groping for the light-switch on the landing as I pass. I tread carefully, trying to avoid knocking down the wall of books we've been building there, volume by volume until the day we get round to fitting bookshelves.

When I get downstairs, I realise it's cold. For the first time since we've lived here, the lounge has a distinct chill, and in the darkness of the early morning, the rawness of the air emphasises the emptiness of the room.

I sit for a while in the chair by the window, and watch the sky lighten. Every now and then a car purrs quietly past. The only other sound is the repetitive call of the wood pigeons, I see them balancing on the telephone wires that string across the street; dark black cables marking out their territory in the brightening sky.

When I look over at the sofa, I see where Philip sat last night. His shoes lie slightly askew, just where he slipped them from his feet.  The cushions are just as he left them - stacked up in the corner, the imprint of his body clearly there. For a moment I wonder if that will be how it is when he's gone, a memory, an impression of him being here; his possessions left behind, but  no more him.

It might be that, or the chill in the room that makes me shiver. Either way, it's enough to make me realise it's time to move, to get ready for the day ahead. I make two cups of tea and take them back upstairs to the  warmth of the bedroom; where the impression on the pillows is caused by him still being there; where he's waiting to say good morning.

32 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

foreboding....brrrrr

Nari said...

That was beatifully melancholy. I recently lost my husband this year and it is often like that for me. I'm glad you find the time to acknowledge the joy of his present imprint rather than having to acknowledge the loss of his past one.

Sandra said...

Nari, I'm so sorry for your loss. I agree. This piece is so wonderful that it's in the now. It's actually quite sweet and lovely, and it makes me want to count my blessings. Thank you, Sharon.

Anonymous said...

Very thought invoking.

Sera Phyn said...

Lovely, yet sad! Very lyrical, though.

Robbie Grey said...

A lesson in impermanence, which does give a bit of a chill. That last line added a bit of warmth, which got me to smile.

Lena said...

I love the way you express yourself, very poetic

Jennifer said...

this was so wonderfully written. i think i found my inspiration to move on with my drafted post.

thank you for sharing.

Susan Cooper said...

What is so funny is I had the very same epiphany this morning on my patio watching the sky lighten. I had a cup of coffee and was missing my husband who was a thousand miles away and couldn't wait to talk to him on the phone. Life is very short and every now and then we find ourselves wondering what it would be like without a loved one. It makes us remember the little things and why our loved ones mean so much to us and to not take anything for granted. Thank you for bringing that so beautifully to light.

Philip said...

Rumours of my demise are, thankfully, unfounded. I promise to tidy away my shoes before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Bobby Stevenson said...

On the other hand our Sharon, you could go first and Philip could be lying in bed wondering who's going to bring him a cup of tea -just saying :-).
As always poignant and thoughtful and a pleasure to read. x

Hector Grajales-ideas rentables de negocios said...

are very poetic and this article has done a beautiful tribute

Patsy said...

A beautiful image, but a slightly sad one. Just right for this season when the countryside looks its most beautiful even though we know the gorgeously coloured leaves won't be around for long.

Michelle Millay said...

Love this. I am brand new to the blogging world and stumbled apon you, I really enjoy reading your blog!

Hillary said...

Wow, Sharon - I wonder what made you write that? I have dark thoughts like that at times. I bring out my old man with his push broom, and he shuffles along, pushing the thoughts over the edge of my mind. I think we all need a mental custodian occasionally.

Bill Dameron said...

Is it October that makes us think of loss? It's the coolness and the change of seasons, I think.

Such a nice piece of writing.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Very nicely done. My thoughts run to this theme periodically, or to the reverse, what I might leave behind for him to remember.

Gabi said...

Hi there...!

I will be bach to reed some mre.
Loved this one... I am happily married again since 2009 but back in 1999 I became the widdow of my first husband, I was only 29 years old.
Your story pulls some strings in my mind to let me remember some of the grief but in a good way now.

Greets all the way from Holland

Gabi

Gabi BK said...

Hi there...!

I will be back to reed some more.
Loved this one... I am happily married again since 2009 but back in 1999 I became the widdow of my first husband, I was only 29 years old.
Your story pulls some strings in my mind to let me remember some of the grief but in a good way now.

Greets all the way from Holland

Gabi

Nessa Roo said...

See, if it had been anybody else writing this, I would have wondered if you were planning to off your husband. (That's where my brain goes. I'm creepy like that.)
But I already saw Philip's comment, and now I'm just laughing.
Beautiful thoughts, by the way.

Dicky said...

Like Nessa Roo; I'm very glad to have seen Philips comment - I was wondering what I had missed. This is a very beautiful, peaceful post, with just a big enough dash of "future melancholy."

certain mind said...

nice expression of oneself....let me follow you:-)

theplantgardener said...

sad, poignant and uplifting piece

Lizzie said...

I really enjoyed your description in this post. Sometimes the wee hours of the morning make me reflect like this. It might be the turn of the seasons was so evident this week; the dark mornings, the chill in the air.

lily said...

I would think it odd, not that you have written this but that so many of us have had these same flashes of what may come. A week ago a VA MD told my husband his liver was shot, kidneys right behind , and that he was in the height of trouble!! Fortunately when we went for a second opinion our family MD said the first was just plain WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I know well of what you speak. Fear and gratitude. Thank you as always.

Sharon Longworth said...

mybabyjohn/Delores - sorry for the chill! hope you've warmed up again by now.

Nari - I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't even begin to imagine what that must feel like. I do appreciate what and who I've got - with a few in-between bouts of annoyance and frustration - but isn't that always the way?

Sandra - that's very kind of you - thank you.

Anonymous - thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sera - thank you - sad but lyrical is a lovely way to describe this!

Sharon Longworth said...

Robbie - thank you. Your writing often makes me think and then smile, so I guess I owe you one!

Lena - I'm really glad you like it.

Jennifer - that's a lovely thing to say, and I know I will enjoy your writing when you finish it.

Susan - thank you. I hope your husband is back home with you now, or soon will be. Can't do better than give him a big hug!

Philip - thank goodness for that - on both counts! x

Sharon Longworth said...

Bobby - brilliant, just brilliant. I can imagine him sitting there tutting and feeling neglected...

Hector - that's very kind of you - thank you.

Patsy - hello! Yes, I can't help but feel the season had a lot to do with the tone of this post.

Michelle - hello and welcome - thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. As you'll no doubt soon realise, bloggers love commenters!

Hillary - never mind how I came to think of this - how did you come up with the wonderful image of the "old man with his push broom, and he shuffles along, pushing the thoughts over the edge of my mind"? that's absolutely inspired - and worth a blog post in its own right - please write it so I can come and read!

Sharon Longworth said...

Thanks Bill - I think, for me, there is something about the end of summer that makes me think of the end of other things. Probably why spring is my favourite season!

Blissed-out Grandma - I dread to think what I might leave behind for Philip to remember! Better get my act in gear so there are at least one or two fond reminiscences...

Gabi - welcome to the blog and thank you so much for stopping to leave a comment. I'm so sorry that you had to go through such pain when you were only 29 - I will count my blessings tonight. I'm glad you're in a happier place now.

Nessa Roo - now I feel a story coming on - but I'll have to be careful or he'll think I really am planning something...

Dicky - thank you. 'Future melancholy' is such a fantastic phrase, I may have to borrow it at some point!

Sharon Longworth said...

certain mind - thank you!

theplantgardener - I'm so pleased you found all that! thank you.

Lizzie - thank you! I'm sure there aren't many of us who don't every now and then have periods of 'future melancholy' (there you go Dicky, I've used it already...)

Lily - I am so pleased that you got better news with the second visit - I can't begin to imagine how you must have felt after the first one.

ND Mitchell said...

Apart from the wonderfully evocative atmosphere you create, I like the way you take the opportunity to reflect on what could be viewed as a negative emotion, in a warm and optimistic way by the end. I guess we should all be thankful for what we have and "count our blessings" more regularly. Thanks for this post.
David

Dan said...

Your writing is captivating. I would imagine it is very much how you speak - to me - it sounds like it just rolls onto a page as it pops in your mind...you see it, think it, write it. Thanks for sharing.