Campfire Story


Just a moment to myself

Summer is coming. I’ve just finished cleaning the toilets, the windows are all open and I have sat down for a minute. I keep catching a breeze on the back of my neck,  it feels like someone is trying to get my attention.  My boney cat is coming up to join me up on the sofa.  I watch her, like a climber in a crevasse, she front points with her claws between the seat squab and the pouffe. She can no longer jump.  Our clocks are about to spring forward and we have been hit with a weird weather burp from Australia.  The forecasters have promised 30°.  I have put about six loads of washing on in preparation, middle age thinking.

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Miss boney and black has reached the summit and is now looking at me.  I want to stroke her but I do not like the way her spine feels under my caress.  I rub under her chin and she dribbles, sneezes and shakes her head.  I make a note of where the spittle has landed, my husband can sit there tonight. It’s not her fault I will now have to wash the cushion covers, she is old. Her once lustrous black coat is thinning and the light shows up her ginger patches.  She can’t always be bothered to clean herself and lies on the warm earth instead. She is happy and purring, I understand.

I look out of the window, everything is excited, bursting, pushing, building, summer is P1130321lifting her long skirts and showing us her ankle.  She is teasing, it is not her turn yet, spring must dance first.  I can see that dust has settled under the sofa, I haven’t cleaned this space yet, I will get up in a minute and hoover. It’s just so warm and quiet here,  I want to settle for a while, play hooky from my chores, the dust can wait.  I hear the squeaky wheel of the wheelbarrow coming towards me, my husband is now unlocking the side gate to our garden, he can not see me and thinks that I am cleaning, shhh……….I stop typing for a while and sink lower into the cushions.  He has put something under the house, the noises all reverse and I am alone again.  I look at the cat, she will not tell if I feed her.

The air smells clean and promising, it is so quiet I wonder if everyone has rushed to the beach to take advantage of summers advert.  I look around, I am lucky with all that I have, the friends and family that share with me.  I feel like the bulk of the hard work has been done, that my husband and I are on the verge of something new and exciting, where cleaning once a week and regular meals are no longer needed.  People, in the know, laugh and say it is never over, they come back carrying more joy in their baskets with debt and relationships and if you are lucky babies.P1130322.JPG

A beautiful rosella lands in my oak tree, she does not belong in an old English wood.  The neighbours have cut down lots of native bush for their brand new house and she is confused, looking for the kowhai that has been in her little flocks routine for as long as I have lived here.  The others come to collect her, tell her their tree is dead, they leave in a red and green conversation.P1120751.JPG

I close my eyes, just for a moment, and listen. Nothing, no children laughing in the playground next to our property, no power tools doing their weekend work, no builders next door.  The wind blows and the trees all respond and rustle their annoyance.  A bird calls, I romanticise that the rosella is crying for her loss. My husband sneezes, somewhere a car passes. All is peaceful, I feel the warmth of the sun on one side of my body, I want to sleep. Something touches my foot, I open my eyes.

A bird calls, I romanticise that the rosella is crying for her loss.

I have a big pile of papers still to go through, today I promised my self I would strike through an ever growing To Do list. Most of the dreary stuff has been done because I could not sleep.  I still have to cost up two catering jobs, a list of finger food and canapes are at my feet.  The breeze catches a page and I can see the spaces that I still need to fill, cost of eye fillet????  my black slanting handwriting slaps at me.  Work, work, you must work.  ‘But it is the weekend’, I say out loud.  The cat is startled and looks around.  The paper catches my foot again.

The washing machine begins its spin and my husband starts the lawn mower, I hope my daughter has picked up all the dog mess, or the perpetual argument will start about chores.  The dishwasher tells me she is finished and my son comes to find me asking for a lift.  The cat sensing the shift, jumps down and meows, I am hungry.

OK OK, I give up, I have been caught. I will get back to my Saturday routine, I just wanted a moment. Summer is coming.


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