Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Time takes a cigarette...

It's been two months since my last post. I stare at the screen and the curser flashes back at me - challenging, accusing - "where have you been?  How do you account for yourself?"

Two months... So much and so little. An interval, an aeon, a blink of an eye.

Last night, we ate cherries from our allotment; the first crop, the ones we'd managed to protect from the birds. I chanted as I lined up the stones at the side of my plate "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief", the rhyme rolled off my tongue as though I'd said it only yesterday. My delight in ending at Rich Man just as strong as the last time that happened, more than forty years ago, in the kitchen at Croxted Road.

This morning, as I dressed for work, I remembered the green pleated skirt I'd bought with the first wages from my Saturday job at Woolworths. I pictured the small clothes shop in West Norwood High Street, imagined myself once again sliding the hangers along the rail, picking out the skirt and taking it into the tiny changing room. I saw my younger self trying it on, twirling and circling in front of the mirror, watching the fabric spinning out wide.

A week ago, a letter arrived. Addressed to The Householder, it came from an insurance company trying to find the family of a man who'd once lived here. I wonder what that would be like, to live and die, distanced from family, leaving no mark.

Two months... Birthdays, a wedding, a weekend in Reading. Formula 1, football, a Wimbledon champ. Sunshine in Greece, fields filled with lavender, working and reading and digging and weeding.

On Thursday it will be five years since the day Philip and I stood side by side in a Dartford registry office, promising to love til death do us part.

Time flies so quickly, and yet not at all.