Evening bench

I’m sitting on a bench in the evening sun. Behind me the main road, busier than it has been so far. 6.20pm. Before me Thamesis, old father Thames, with maybe two more hours of ebb before slack water. The evening sun is behind and to my right, dappled through the plane trees, shining off the right hand frame of my glasses, warming me through the shoulder of my jumper. The breeze blows on my left cheek. Despite the main road at my back it is possible to be peaceful here.

I’ve just carried a bag of electronics to the recycling point and now I’m having a bottle of moretti and a peaceful sit down to write this and dose up on vitamin D.

My flat is in flux at the moment with all the jobs underway and I find if I write this there then the conflict of all the clutter affects my thinking and urges unhelpful thinking. I’m trying to move things on meaningfully up there, but one problem is that I’m not too good at endings. And there’s a lot of “past” up there, most of it not even mine.

I’ve thrown out lots of broken electronics that still have their stories. I’ve passed on the shirt I bought that day in Texas, the jumper I wore when I had that conversation. I don’t use them, but somebody might. These items need another life away from my stories and I need to keep paring back my stuff until it is less emotionally complicated to be in my own home. eBay tomorrow, for any old stuff, just to get back in the swing of it. I’ve kept lots of boxes so I can sell things that take up space. Wooden heads and big earthenware jugs and vases. When I find there’s a space up there that I’ve made, I breathe out into it. I keep looking at the little hard things that have improved and smiling. Plug sockets and light fittings mostly, and sorted piles. The work is enjoyable. But at this pace I’ll need another year of lockdown. But the more I do the more I feel I want to do it and the more I feel connected to the results.

The sky is perfect blue. I thought I’d never see that again after the eruption in Iceland. I remember saying that to someone at the time. “Look at the sky with no trails, no planes. We will never see that again.” Little did we know.

How will this fadge? At some point we have to come out, but what will change when we do? Will it be too early or too late? Will it be uncomfortable? What of the world? Has it really has the chance to breathe, knowing people are gearing up to sack it doublehard? What of the morning tube, elbow to nose, crushed together in each other’s sweat and each other’s mood? Will there be tales, in twenty years, of the old guy living in the woods who never came out of lockdown? “Every night, at midnight, you can hear the clicks as he orders something he doesn’t need on Amazon.”

I’m going back up to do more organising. That’s all we can do. Little things, every day. And we will know when we know.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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