The man swaggered along the street, his dog pulling on a chain beside him. A crisp wind picked up the crushed leaf dust. I recognised the scent and sound and taste and instinct squeezed my eyes shut in preparation. The gutters, now relieved of organic material, displayed their usual wares of almost-mulch call-girl cards and the innards of a long-discarded cassette.
Disgust flares my nostrils – someone had left their stomach contents in the doorway to the electrical shop. I’ll never know how those businesses survive with their yellowing teasmaids and peeling manufacturer labels in the window. Probably due to the diligence of an old man who mops up student vomit each morning and likes to tinker with burnt-out toasters while whistling along to oddly current tunes on commercial radio.
I know the sort. They never go home. They married the first girl they met and fill their lives drinking first tea, then IPA, excelling at pub quizzes and working until they die. Those who retire barely survive the transition. I can’t decide if it’s tragic or honourable.
The street has changed since he opened shop. His view of the cars passing by is now obscured by a gaudy bus stop advertising some film he doesn’t want to see. Not that he gets to the pictures nowadays. It’s too dear, and besides, the missus would prattle on through all the good bits.
Just publish free writing? Unedited? You must be mad. Nobody needs to see my stream of consciousness. It’s dark. And besides, there are things I should be doing. A nappy that needs changing. A dog who keeps licking my arm to let me know she needs a walk. A client who needs chasing. Breakfast plates that need cleaning up so that A doesn’t just graze all day.
I can’t just publish. It’s too confessional. I’d have to admit that sometimes I struggle to remember children’s names and so have trawled Facebook for the past ten minutes to find out. Or that I just chucked the sofa cover on top of the sofa because I can’t even deal with wrestling with it right now. Or that I am not going to write for 20 minutes because I do things in 15 minute blocks and my craziness likes to keep things consistent:
Either a) do an entire job or b) if it would take more than 15 minutes, then do it in 15 minute blocks and reassess.
I have so many timers. Bosu bells, iPhone, oven, Chrome extension. Even a playlist that’s as close to 15 minutes as I could get. It means no Boo To You parade music, but some days that’s a good thing.
I don’t know how to write creatively yet. I’m still too stuck in all the things I’ve been unable to say in the real world. If you know me, and how weird I am, you must be thinking “Dear God, how can this woman find even more to say?” I can’t promise it’s useful, or even nice, but I have to, for the sake of my togetherness as a person, get it all out.
It’s not cold up here; it’s fresh. I’m not stifled; I’m comforted. If you’d seen what I’ve seen, you’d shut the door and lose yourself in literature too. The well-considered words of poets are lush and bolstering, while the blurted inconsequences of lovers unsettle and mire. I wash one cup, or I drink from the bottle. I have no need to turn my pillow, as its cool counterpart lies alongside. I know why “untouched” is uttered in reverence and “touched” is a term for madness. I let someone in once, and she slaughtered me in my own bed.