Head space

It is hard to know for sure from which font they surge, what comes first—thoughts or feelings—or if they are conceived together, and always, or only sometimes, live in tandem. Hard to know where they reside once born, and why the me-ness of them is suddenly brimful at dawn as the last owl calls give way to neighbourhood cockerels punctuating the seeming unison of joyous birdsong, and the gentle iciness of morning dewpoint fools the eyes into believing that the air is wavering, although no wind blows. The now and yesterday converge, and in my head the words form, but are not spoken, for there is no need: “I am woman”, and then the smaller aside, “and I like the woman I am”.

So why say these things? Analytical me fails to ennumerate all the memories, people, places, moments, where I have been and where I am going, neglects to pinpoint the precise intersections thus drawn. Calm dismissal, since something else is afoot. The orchestra is hushed, for soon, when I have stopped marvelling at an instance of deft punctuation in a book translated by a kindred spirit, perhaps, just arrived in the post, there is another novel about to be launched in a far-off land. Part of my soul—or all of it – who knows?—had a hand in crafting the fine arc that words cut through space. The words are layered in that book, first from the author’s own stories and ones that she heard, then by the author herself, then the translator, and then me, the revisor; and then, back and forth, back and forth between us until woven neat and tight, but not flattened.

Voilà la fin du commencement. So I wait for the departure and arrival. I do not think I was a demanding daughter – or am, I have to say, since my mother still lives. You see, I did not ask for many things. But I did ask, one day when visiting, for the last teaspoon of a set of six, still in her kitchen drawer, until I removed it to stir the tea in my mug, hurrying the tea bag along. I like the feel of it, you see. My mother gave a short laugh of surprise, as she is wont to do when she finds me attaching importance to seemingly insignificant things. I cannot remember when exactly all six teaspoons were new and shiny, but it must be close to fifty years ago. What I do recall from when I was about four is the crusty smell of the ivory handle of the butter knife when washed under hot water, then dried with the tea towel and put away. That knife and the teaspoon shared the same space for years, and share space now in my head.

This morning, I stirred my coffee, washed the spoon and took a photo. And that’s an end to it, for the time being.

 

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©2018 Allison Wright

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