I am a packhorse on two legs.
Bulging bags weigh down my body and a bulky baby bounces on my back. That’s alliterative, I think, whilst I trudge my way home from the supermarket. I’ve a dictionary in my head and used to love words with different meanings and similar sounds. Right now all that seems
senseless. When I was a struggling journalist I liked alliteration. Editors didn’t -which may be why I struggled. I’d left university with a degree in English and thought I knew how to write. I tried to impress friends by saying I was a ‘wordsmith’ but they just laughed at my pretensions to creativity and
sensitivity. Lucy screeched like a banshee while I trawled the aisles trying to recall what I needed and avoiding the disapproving glances condemning me as an insensitive mother, but now she’s sleeping in her sling. Exhausted – like me as I climb three flights of stairs to my flat. I must be organized and
sensible – though I don’t want to be! I’ve got to clean up the pigsty kitchen, do a load of washing , change Lucy and then feed her and myself – when all I want to do is doze in front of the telly. Be practical. I mustn’t lounge around on the sofa, dreaming of a sexy man appearing in my life to awaken my submerged
sensuality – which disappeared when dirty nappies and broken nights came along. After three weeks of fatherhood Sven left, taking his lechery and dirty clothes elsewhere, leaving me, Carrie, high and dry. In fact, not ‘dry’ – my shirts are wet with milk – and not ‘high’ either as I don’t do drugs now I’m a responsible single parent. There’s no time to pick up a book – I haven’t read Austen or anything for ages. My brain’s all mashed up by motherhood. I’ve no energy and I’ve thrown away my emotions along with the washing up water.
Have I lost my senses?
I walk to the window and look out at chimney pots strutting in front of an apricot evening sky. I hear soothing sounds of pigeons crooing in the trees opposite. I go across to my drowsy daughter, leaning down to kiss her soft hair – the smell is like an opiate. The tension in my shoulders relaxes. I am perceptive. I sink down onto the sofa and remember yesterday, as I walked upstairs, when Jos came out of his flat on the first floor. He put his arm round my shoulders, touched my neck and gave me a hug. Because he’s so nice-looking, I’d assumed he was gay but he isn’t! His sweater had a rough texture – but his hand was smooth and warm. I was receptive. I smile and, amazingly, find a half-eaten bar of chocolate under the cushion. I bite into it and, as the taste floods through my mouth, my worries evaporate. I feel wonderfully alive.
Simple things can be …… sensational!