Yesterday evening today stretched like a blank canvas of possibility. Even better when I woke to sunshine and blue sky after an afternoon of persistent rain and dribbly skies all evening.
I thought about going to IKEA and looking at the kitchens. Maybe a visit to the newly refurbed IWM, or even the Cabinet War Rooms. But in the end, I had a largely domestic day with MasterB. One appointment before lunchtime; washing drying on the line; a visit to the bank to pay a bill and to pay in a cheque.
I was daydreaming in the short queue, aware that someone a couple of places behind me was talking, and assuming it was a mobile phone conversation. Then the woman after me in the queue stepped really close and I was jolted into the present. Very clearly, I heard a man muttering, “I hate you. You are disgusting.”
Oh-oh, one of those mobile phone conversations. Well at least he wasn’t shouting. Once tuned in, I couldn’t help hearing more: a long stream of hatred and invective. A monologue. I glanced round. The man did not have a mobile phone. He was queuing quietly with everyone else on a sunny Saturday morning with his hatred of the world spewing out of his mouth. By now, the woman behind me was virtually standing on my heels.
Is it better someone this disturbed is speaking aloud than those words just spin silently in his own head where no one else can hear them? I don’t know.
Back at home, MasterB wanted indoor play. String was the thing. I put my paper aside and picked up my camera.
How could you not love him?
He raced backwards and forwards, out onto the landing, back inside. We playfought. I threw things that he caught. He submitted to being turned upside down and cuddled. When he was quieter, I photographed.
After lunch, I read my paper and MasterB lay with his head on my leg. Occasionally, he opened his eyes and blinked a sleepy greeting. He made it flatteringly clear that he wanted to be with me.
Later I had things to do in the garden. Out he came. One of my neighbours was there with her hula hoop. We talked. We hulaed. I need to buy my own hoop. I learned her father had died last year and had had advanced dementia. If only we had known our situations before, we could have offered each other support.
On the street, I saw Celia coming from her flat. We waved. MasterB lifted his nose to her hand then rubbed his head against her. Celia and I had our dying mother conversations earlier in the year. It was so helpful to have someone else who was in the same zone nearby. It is still helpful as we deal with the official and emotional aftermath of losing a parent. Rummaging through some papers yesterday, I found a telephone number written in my mother’s hand. Why should that bring home the finality of her death? Is it that the hand that wrote it can write no more? I tucked it back with the other papers and closed the drawer.
Now it is nearly half past nine and I am ready for my bed. I shall get MasterB indoors, give him his dinner, clean my teeth and read until my eyes close.