Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tides










Last night I came down with my first cold of the autumn season. I felt compelled to make chicken soup and so I did so even though I know I won't consume it, it's just the comfort of it, the process. It makes me think of my Grandma Peppermint and it signals winter, it signals the call for nourishment. Right now, I'm sitting here enjoying the silence. Sitting here thinking of sunday morning, when the lack of my signal to chivvy everyone along meant that the family were running late, very late for church. When I was being less than gracious about it and may have uttered some stereotyped words about the male species. When that hubby of mine recognised the need in me for quiet and took those boys of ours and himself off and out of the house, leaving me in the thick of quiet. That was when I curled up on the sofa in my flannel pj's and listened gratefully to the beautiful low fi hum of my vhs copy of 'The Way We Were' playing. Just me and Katy and Hubble. Of course I cried big sparkly diamond tears as I always do and I felt an ache of sadness for the rest of the day in that nostalgic, self indulgent kind of way that washes over you when you have the time to allow it in. That family of mine were out for hours, and between cooking a couple of meals I was even able to watch a little of my very worn 'Lovesexy' live concert on vhs too. But then I heard the key in the door and my eldest walked in and uttered 'Cool, Prince!' I watched him as his eyes widened as he watched 'Cat' pulsating to Prince's lyrics 'Glam Slam, Thank you Mam, You really make my day'. Alarmed that my boy had stepped and fallen into the crevice of my adolescence, I quickly switched it off and came back to earth, transported back from my memories with a mighty glam slam.


Today seems to be one of those days for drifting, drifting in and out of my memories. I can see myself sat bolt upright on one of those hard wooden chairs at my school in Mamprobi. The sun is squeezing through a hole in part of the corrugated iron roof and is casting a shape on the cement floor of my classroom which is hypnotising, especially when on occasion is seems to dance a little. I am watchful because the teacher whose name I forget but that might be Mr. Quashie, is staring at me. He is holding a cane in one hand with the tip of the cane held in the palm of his other hand. He moves the tip of the cane in and out of the palm of his hand, opening and closing his palm as he does so, walking, pacing along the rows of chairs with pupils sat on them. He is asking us to recite our times tables, we are six years old. He approaches my desk and asks me a times tables question. I stand up from my chair as protocol requires and I answer correctly. As I return to my seat, heart racing, legs wooden like the chair itself and fingers shaking, Mr.Quashie as we'll agree to call him, utters these words: 

"Don't think that you will get preferential treatment just because you are half-caste"


He looks at me scornfully at first and then smiles and I experience that feeling of utter confusion, that feeling that has you on guard, that feeling that tells you that a smile is not always a smile. I take a deep breath and and look out of the large square window frame, the one that frames the blue, blue ocean that sits behind my school building. I watch the waves turn from blue to white, from blue to white and then I quietly pull my chair in closer to my table and I sit bolt upright, ready once again. There is no view of the ocean today but still there are waves, some come big and heavy and completely wash me away. Others come slowly and just brush my toes. I am grateful for each of them and what they bring and however hard it is at times to still be standing after the crash of the fiercest of waves, I can at least know that it can be done. I can still stand and that's enough for me today.





Mama and More




2 comments:

  1. Oh Katy, this transported me utterly, and I know we talked about the similarities in some of our childhood memories before. An absolutely beautiful post, possibly my favourite of yours yet. You are an extraordinary writer, and a beautiful spirit, and Katy and Hubble, oh yes! Thanks for linking this to #allaboutyou xxx

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  2. Absolutely beautifully written post. You got me crying!

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