Thursday, 3 May 2012
I'm often asked what I write about. Well, ordinary things.
OBJECTS IN SPACE
A small dark canvas slipper with a white rubber sole sits unaccompanied in the laundry window. It fell from the height of the balcony where it lay drying beside its mate after a soggy, rollicking adventure through a flooded park. It followed its companion in their fall from grace, the flight precipitated by a teenager whose frustration was exacted on the guiltless pair.
Thrust into the mango tree and down to its thick undergrowth, one shoe continues to lie hidden. The other was found and it is this which waits alone as a widow might sit looking at the horizon for her dead husband’s return.
There is hope in the symbol of the remaining shoe. Hope that the garden may yet give up its secret. Hope that in another outburst, the teenager might yet throw it across the yard so to be reunited and lie hidden under the rotting vegetation with lost toy cars and miniature soldiers in secret and as all useful shoes should be: together.
A light breeze blew making friendly waves in the rippling sheets. The towels soaked up the warm rays of the sun and began to soften. Esther reached for the next item waiting in the basket and then procured a peg, repeating her actions that fastened her final load to the line. She gave the Hills hoist a nudge and watched as it twirled freely, the washing in rows like shuddering children on a merry-go-round. With the basket on her hip she returned to the laundry to complete her remaining chores with rising disinterest. It was the last peg that made her pause. A lone peg remaining, unable to perform that function for which it was designed because a trick of chance had determined this day’s wash did not require its service. There it remained unfulfilled at the bottom of the basket. Light blue in colour, it contrasted with the red container nicely, Esther thought. “Something borrowed, something blue…” she mused, liberating the peg and bringing it closer to examine. “You shall be my lucky peg,” she informed it as she pinned it to her collar. With the peg perched at her shoulder like a favourite bird, Esther was able to complete her daily tasks now with meaning. As she had given the peg purpose, so the peg had redefined a day of potential tedium into something worth sharing with a new friend.
“Gran, you really should throw this cup away. It’s cracked through”.
“Oh, I know dear. I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
“Do you want me to do it for you? Look it’s easy.” Brenda raised her arm to fling the cup into the nearby waste bin but stopped, more with surprise at her grandmother’s tone than obeying the instruction.
She gazed at Gran and then looked to the cup.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it meant so much to you.”
“I think if I throw it out, I shall forget….”
“Forget what, Gran?”
Gran took the cup and held it firmly. “It’s the last of a set,” she said quietly, running a finger along the line of flowers that decorated it. And Brenda knew why the cup was of such value. Gran was mourning the deaths of two friends this year. The cup, cracked as it was, represented her life: the last of a set, as she had said. So many mornings and afternoons of friendship, love and secrets, business and gossip, celebrations and tears, and this cup lined with blue flowers and gold edges, witness to them all. From her seat at the table, she looked around Gran’s small kitchen searching for a special place for it.
“Gran,” she said rising and taking the newly found treasure from Gran’s hesitant hands, “I’m going to put it right up here beside the clock. Whenever you look at the time, you will remember.”
“Thank you dear.”
Brenda took Gran’s hand as she stepped back to view her interior decorating. She smiled at her Grandmother fondly and relished this moment of their connection on one of Gran’s more lucid days.
Her mother’s sharp entrance sliced through their reverie.
“Oh, Mum, are you really still hanging on to that old tea cup? C’mon let’s get rid of it.” Sally was abruptly immobilized by the united voices raised in protest.