house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The WhatsthePoint Day

So called because that's what it was, the kind of day when you just want to give up. There's no energy. Everything is just too sad. The future, too far away.

'You look as if someone's died!' - from a forward acquaintance met in the market. In fact someone has, a kind and gentle soul vanished from the fabric of our family. The news arrived at dawn. I don't tell my friend, for both of our sakes, instead carefully carve a crease across my face that might just be seen as a smile. And all the time the thought buzzes around my head like a fly behind a closed window: What's the Point?

Other things flock around to feed that thought: there's no progress on the house and I'm no good at anything to do with building (although too good at everything to do with dreaming of a home...) - so again, What's the Point?

My job finishes in two weeks and where do I go from there? Plans and dreams take on the appearance of an ice sculpture in August. A cat thrown into the river. A good soufflé taken out of the oven too early. No guests arriving. What's the Point?

Moona still far far away. I count the sleeps like someone who still believes in Santa. He counts the days too, in bittersweet monotone. He loves his work, the harsh and splendid world where he lives now. When he's there he misses us (he says), then he'll be here and he'll stop and gaze somewhere unfathomable with sharp longing. So What's the Point?

All this is background, perhaps there's more. I would have loved to avoid it, but how else to explain the burning eyes, streaming nose, lifeless limbs, foul language, pounding head, ferocious driving and irritating forgetfulness? There's only so much you can blame on hay fever.

So the day rolls on: off to the land but no pruning, clearing or fruit picking (because what's the Point?), with a stop at the Chinese shop looking at a million things made of plastic, buying nothing (so hey, what's the Point?), trying all the time to remember that last conversation with Jimmy (but why, what's the Point?)

A friend calls, Let's Go to the River. Guess what I am tempted to say (it's got the word Point in it, in a non-arithmetical context...) But we buy a new rubber ring and go.

Next scene: Me and friend sit on towels laid atop spiky grass. Kira and friend's daughter run into the river. I spend ten minutes blowing air into the rubber ring, making myself even more dizzy and cranky if at all possible (now could THAT be the point of THAT?..) Kira runs back and grabs the ring ('Don't lose it, I say, although really, what's the Point).

Next, a shout. We look. The ring is miles away and speeding towards the next county, the mother river and the ocean. What did I tell you?

We get up, walk three steps towards the river, walk back, sit down (because well, what's the point?) The girls are frantic, then quiet. Real quiet. Kira sits on a wet rock, head in hands.

I don't know why (since I know and you know by now, What could possibly be the Point?) but all of a sudden I'm up again and walking briskly along the river. Saffie alone follows (as a dog, she doesn't understand a lost cause). It's not easy, there are brambles and sharp stones and a long skirt to negotiate. I catch sight of the ring, it's floating gently now around a slow bend in the river. Impossible to reach. We walk on, Saffie and I, beyond the bend, also beyond a torn skirt and scratched legs, finally beyond the day's drumming chorus: what is the point?

An opening, here the river is wide and calm, and here comes the ring. The arm can't reach it, the long stick I pick can't touch it and Saffie won't jump in to fetch it. Bye bye skirt. Hello ice cold water. Gasp. Unplanned and unexpected, everything and more: the swim, the recovered ring and finally, gloriously the thrill and joy of it all. I stay long after the mission's finished, just rolling in the water like an errant child in vest and knickers, stealing a swim, sampling a season, alone.

Isn't that the whole point?


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