Reluctantly packed away the Christmas decorations, winding the fairy lights around and around my hand. Incredibly they fit back into the box. Bells and red stuffed hearts and the gloss-painted birds I bought from Habitat back in the New Square days along with the Swedish garland made of straw and red cotton. Packing like dragging wet sheets out of a stormwater drain, I feel like a hibernating grub but I must plan outfits, god help me. It yawns black nylon at me with this suitcase expression like, dude, what the hell would I know about what goes in here? I'm just the one with the zippers. But lo, on the other side of this and getting bitch-slapped by border control is England, England! Sandwich shops and chocolate bourbons and laissez-faire trains and unlikely snack foods and signs that never say FORBIDDEN but just DON'T.
Leaky mussy black outside, winglet navigation light flickering far out past the rooftops. I am on a plane the day after tomorrow and suddenly everything is everywhere and nowhere to be found, things ordinarily peaceably resting in their places, a hairbush, this week's New Yorker, a pile of clean washing folded now a wilful barricade between me and getting away, lists on three different kinds of paper and god knows what else I've forgotten, that nippy milk-toothed imperative to capitalise on every possible opportunity, every corner of the carryon, what can you bring back in the suitcase, ten minutes for lunch, roving exhibitions, one-off that, now this who's that. Screw it! New scorched-earth travel plan. Underwear in the pocket, passport between your teeth and you're away. With your QUEUE: OTHER Ryanair boarding pass, natürlich.
Once upon a time, there was a hooded crow who was in love with her accountant. Her accountant was an oyster. Really good at filtering out the crap and getting to the nitty gritty, you know? So settled and purposeful. She sat on a chimney pot and thoughtfully settled her pewtery gilet into place.
I'm willfully ironing everything out of my days like I dare myself to have nothing left, and it is impossible, really, for everything is something, even the three cups of coffee and nothing else, unless you practise a kind of disobedient inattention. No, goddamn it, I shall not be made words! I am just a cup of coffee and you don't even notice that I am here, for thinking about me makes you wonder about Bashō and his bowl of water and heaven only knows what other stifling literary crap. Shut up! Shut up shut up! I fear how much I want you to be everything, everywhere, even in my toast and jam so I pretend that I don't want you here.
I miss England today, my god, like frigid bathroom floor tiles under the bare feet of my loneliness and dislocation. Robins and chestnuts and ridiculous, ridiculous houses with tiny rooms and gaps under the doors and radiators in the wrong places, too-hot coffee and late trains, London and London and London, three times too much of everything and just right like the baby bear's porridge, a microscopic North-Carolina-meets-Dickens Krispy Kreme like a window-box at Waterloo where I caught the train to Dr Heartbreak, KGX and platform bloody 9 around the damn corner through the mad turnstile bottleneck to Cambridge and cobblestones and old, old trees and leaning headstones ten feet from the back-lane door of the supermarket. Bookshops and telly people in the theatre and THIS IS THE BBC and English, English my old friend, drowning in meaning hint and sledge, a glance and a laugh and a weapon and a flower. How I miss you.
Frostless blue sky out the window this morning and tits singing from the eaves with the casual glee of a beaked 1oz puff of feathers in a sudden world where everything birdie-good isn't covered with snow. A pigeon on the chimney across the Hof turns around and around and around, puffed like a Columbid helium balloon, check it, bitches, dove in the sun, woohoo! woohoo!
My hands are cold on my melamine desktop and I drink coffee and write emails and check out winter telly premieres and look at shots of my nieces on facebook as the distant spring sends me a postcard from its softer, warmer place of promises and second chances.
Double-slit experiment day, electron smeared out on the wall exhausted by its identity crisis. Some fucker went out with a firearm and shot a congresswoman at point-blank range in the head, along with seventeen other people, what the fucking fuck, what, what? There is too much salt in my baking today as though it has wept and my mind is thermosetting with no cure although the rage might get it there, drag it like mechanical extrusion from its stubborn formlessness and make it do something, for christ if I have not spent hours wondering whether I am a bowl or a mug or a dressing table box and people are dead on the ground in front of their grocery store.
The dishwasher has hummed and hummed, for the house is host to the glassy metal ceramic flotsam of the post-party, smudged and fragile in the washy sunlight, everything vaguely shocking in its wholeness. Seaside smell of empty wine bottles, glasses with a miniature tidal trail of bordeauxy sediment in the bottom as though someone had been panning with them in a river rich in tannins. I'm slightly hung over and my calves are surprised about wearing high heels last night and everything is a run-on sentence. I eat leftover cake with one hand and open dishwasher tablets with the other and worry about things which don't seem to have anything to do with one another. I find lambskin gloves in the study, disguising themselves against a cushion so well that their owner concluded last night that he must not have brought a pair. I am pleased to see them. I have found something.
I have a picture of the winter in my mind like Christmas lights on the other side of the window. It is cozy in here, a nest lined with your books and quilts, cake tins and 2011's closely guarded resolve, hot coffee in the morning and fluffy socks on the wood floors. But the truth is I am struggling, vaguely stir-crazy, cut and bruised and afraid now of the cold and ice outside and the glacial braindeath hard on the heels of perpetually cold feet, terrifying thoughtlessness that delivers nothing but images of the blood running blue in your fingers. My skull makes defrosting pipe sounds and my eyes are full of the grit of no new view and there are too many days still to come.
List item, another list item. Banking. Add list item. Cross off list item. Blink blankly at emails, shift ice-hammered joints, pain and its minion jumpy braced hurt-fear in the spaces between everything until that and one too many cups of coffee sparks diffuse anxiety and uselessness and I stop to watch the great tit pilot peanuts out through the mesh. I can't get the temperature right and I clumsily bumble the house tearing off layers and killing the radiators, yanking on whatever is in reach and cranking them to maximum swearing at everything anywhere that ever had anything to do with homeostasis.
Eventually I iron some napkins and use the sticky stuff remover on the iron, which had some tidal adhesive vestige or other on it. I'd been meaning to do that.
I slipped in the snow today, forgetting for a moment the mocking treachery of winter streets in Berlin, candy-shopped with coloured light and warmth flickering from doorways and the new-year laughter of mittened groups in search of a sugared waffle on a Sunday afternoon. A cleaved second of floaty frictionlessness fucked up by a pile of bones and joints as if dumped out of a box. I look at the ice. It's right in front of my face, because I'm flat on my stomach with both palms spread wide to the gritty slush like I'm walk-of-faming it. As ever, shock delivers a weird metaexperience leaning in to read the adrenaline's newspaper. I'm impressed. I can't begin to reconstruct the sequence between putting my boot onto the slippery ice and making like a majorly penitential monk. Kudos, physics.
Bowl of soup, piece of chocolate. Buzz in the energy-saving bulb in the right-most bookshelf. I keep meaning to fix that. Taste of magnesium smoke. Fireworks so close last night I couldn't make sense of it, those far-away mystery sky-crackers, bright flame and spark-spit in people's hands, balconies, propped in the pavement snow, miniature blast patterns in the gutters on my walk home in the burnt-out hours. A cat hair or two on my coat and the display village of coupledom left behind at the party.