Time spent alone with my husband is a rare occurrence so when the opportunity presented a couple of days ago I insisted that we go out for lunch. Once the food had arrived we tried to talk about something other than our offspring but inevitably ended up talking about nothing else. School, nursery, after school clubs, us living our lives around them, through them and in danger at times of having no life beyond them. I worry that one day when the children have gone we will have nothing left to talk about and voiced this over lunch emphasising how we shouldn't allow this to happen. He agreed with me but already I could see the danger signs.
In an effort to cooperate he talked to me about fishing explaining in great detail the intricacies of spinning and the different types of bait he uses. I told him about my blog and I know he tried to look interested but didn't quite succeed enough to convince me that we do or ever actually did have anything in common.
Lunch lasted around 55 minutes as the place wasn't too busy and we were served quickly. At any other time this would have been welcome but today I had wanted it to be leisurely, full of vibrant chat and laughter rather than punctuated with long silences as we each tried to think of something fascinating to say. Eventually, he suggested a trip to a nearby Retail Park to look for an item he'd seen on offer so away we trouped.
Inside the shop he wandered away as usual leaving me to browse in my own time. Meandering up and down the isles I picked up this and that without paying too much attention to the brick a bract until a few seconds later.
The picture spoke to me visually, emotionally, spiritually. I stood and stared for a good 5 minutes overwhelmed by the size and composition. Trees, woodland, the sun's rays beaming through from the top right hand corner so that the trunks in the foreground loomed out of shadow in comparison to the background where a leafy trail was illuminated through the forest as far as the eye could see. The photograph had been shot in black and white and transferred onto canvas. A natural Utopia representing peace, tranquility, grace, promising stillness and calm to troubled souls.
I looked at the price tag then went in search of my husband rehearsing the sales pitch in my head.
' Oh, yeah, I noticed that - quite liked it.' Was the response to my dumbfounded ears.
' Do you? I know exactly where we could put it, what do you think?'
I'm looking at the picture now in our bedroom. It dominates the wall opposite the bed above the radiator and was worth every penny. He spent a good hour making sure it was level and well supported. I loved him for that, for knowing without asking how much this meant to me.
Sitting on the bed I study the endless line of trees and watch as the shifting light in the bedroom changes the composition revealing hidden areas not yet discovered or explored. Our youngest tells me she's seen a reindeer running through the foliage and warns me to shush in case it comes back.
I get up to stand so close the view swallows my vision...a few more steps and the ground beneath my bare feet gives way to the richness of Mother Earth, her healing touch seeps gently through my toes injecting, renewing, enriching and extending her bountiful rhythm of life. Sunlight dapples my face beckoning me nearer, enticing me to reach out my hand and run my fingers over bark and tall, green fern. A breeze ripples through my hair teasing, delighting, sweeping away all fear and doubt.
I breath deeply, inhaling the sweet freshness of early morning dew. The Great Creator indulges me, lifting the veil of self knowledge to welcome clarity and truth.
Shielding my eyes I recognise a figure in the distance trudging towards me carrying a fishing rod in his hand. He looks relaxed, at one with his surroundings. Once or twice he stands perfectly still to listen to the music of the woods or study a particular bird perched high in the cathedral canopy. There is a sense of deep contentment about him as he threads his way through the gleam.
The crackle of undergrowth announces my approach and he looks around to see who or what has disturbed Natures' song? Catching sight of me he waves and I find myself breaking into a run towards him.
I'm a straight forward kind of girl, honest, trustworthy, nothing special. When I speak to people I look them directly in the eye naively expecting the same in return. I cannot abide cloak and dagger tactics or whispering in corners. If you've got something to say then say it for goodness sake otherwise I'm not interested.
I'm pretty good at reading people. I can tell immediately when someone is off just by the way they enter a room and I'm not fooled by behaviour to the contrary. It offends my sense of justice that you should suggest otherwise.
You might think that you know me. You don't.
I will no longer tolerate transference of guilt, inadequacy, or somebody elses' inability to know their own mind or be responsible for the choices they make.
I will not be leaned on, coerced, intimidated or persuaded against my own counsel. Never again will I invalidate what I hold true or conjure up grey areas when the matter is so obviously black and white.
Do not put words into my mouth. My vocabulary is more than adequate!
Spent this morning at the dentist with screwed up eyes and stricken limbs. I think the assistant was a trainee and I swear if she had suctioned my cheek one more time I would have done some serious harm.
Later, I went shopping with my youngest who skipped merrily ahead whilst I lumbered behind dabbing the dribble from my frozen mouth. What a delightful way to spend the morning and how different to yesterday when himself offered to take the kids fishing so that I could indulge my creative streak in peace and quiet. I was in writing heaven working on a few projects but one in particular which is going rather well. At this moment it's gestating nicely in my notebook. All hush hush of course and subject to change, a work in progress.
Another idea is also starting to take shape but depends very much on a local character I've had my eye on. We are on nodding terms but nothing more which makes progression rather difficult. Maybe I'll find a way around this that doesn't involve giving the wrong impression or earning myself a court order for stalking!
Here in the quiet hours when children are sleeping and the last of the days work is done there is peace. I can hear the familiar sounds of the house creaking and groaning as it shifts position, shaking off the noise and boisterousness of child's play. Settling, resting, bedding in and anchoring, reaffirming the steady, tempo of calm.
Typical ! Only two windows open. Don't they know it's lunchtime ? 3, no 4 in front, I''ll take my chances. As long as I don't get that bloke on the end I should make it back for the meeting. Did my head in last time, thought he wanted my shoe size as well, amount of questions he asked. Come on, come on, bloody woman in the middle looks as though she's sprouted roots. Choose a seat and pay for crying out loud.....Oh here we go, number three's opening up - best smile now, don't want to end up in the gods. " Hello, I'd like to book for next Tuesday please. Two for the Dress Circle if you can."
Shouldn't have eaten that sandwich so fast, oh.....'scuse me. Quick dash to the kitchen, no time for the loo. Where did that queue come from.....where's my tissue ?... That's better. OK. Ready. Bloody Punters....don't they know it's lunchtime ? Well, looky, looky here, Mr Handsome at 2 o'clock. " Hello, may I help ? Two for the Dress....OK, I'll just check that for you..." Flippin' 'eck, he's not bad. Concentrate, look professional. " I can do a couple of seats just over to the right if you'd like to have a look on the Theatre plan."
Is she feeling alright ? She's grinning like a Cheshire cat. " Er. Yeah, yup, they look fine, thanks. Can I pay by card or is there an extra charge ?" 'Cause you lot just love raking it in which ever way you can don't you...you thieving....
" No, no extra charge at the desk, Sir. Only over the phone...."
God, he's gorgeous ! Look at those big, brown eyes and that smile ! Bet the suits an M 'n S. Clean nails, white teeth and I LOVE the scent! Not overpowering like some of the muck they wear....smells soapy and fresh and......lovely. " Which card would you like to use ?" Now's my chance to dazzle him with my keyboard skills. Lots of fast finger action but at the same time creating friendly, come and get me, ambiance.
Is she for real ? What's with all the piano practice ? Just give me the tickets already. Probably a Bunny Boiler..... Bloody hope not - she's got my address on there.
" If you'd like to sign here please.....great. There are your tickets, enjoy the show."
Thank God for that...Someone should tell her she's got bits of lettuce clinging to her gnashes. " You've been very helpful, thanks. Bye."
He can't stop gawping at me. Look at 'im...think I've got a fan there.... You can come again... " You're welcome. Bye." Mmm.....You are beautiful, no matter what they say...La, la,la,la,la,la......don't you bring me down today......Sigh.