On Writing: On not.

I walk through Horley, on the Hornton Road. I walk beneath the dark belly of a ley lundai, smelling foreign woods in the Oxfordshire air: hot dust, pine resin. A woodpigeon coo-coo,cichoos above my head. It’s almost dark, goose-bumps rise like velcro teeth on my arms. A car pulls out from Sor Brook Farm, the driver flicking on its lights, not seeing me beneath the trees.

I walk on, watching my feet, my brown toes with dark-red nail polish, slow-moving in the heavy dusk. My once-sparkled silver flipflops are desultory in their sound: slip-slap. Slip…slap.

Then I feel his footsteps, sliding through mine.

‘Where’ve you been?’ he asks, and I hear his tone. Aggrieved. As if I’ve no right. ‘Why don’t you write any more?’

‘I do,’ I tell him. My voice is mild.

‘You don’t,’ he says. ‘Not what anyone can read, anyway. So what’s the point?’

I watch my feet. Slip-slap.

‘So’s that it?’ he says. ‘You’ve finished?’

I stop, pushing my hands down, past my denim shorts, them clumsily back, searching for the too-tight pockets. My hands. Usually so busy: dog leads, children’s plaits; zips, stuck dolly-clothes, un-stuck lego. Shopping bags, wooden spoons, fistfuls of flowers. The keyboard of my laptop.

I pull them free, and look at them. Feel the need in my fingers, the buzz of a strength that was gone, and is now returning.

‘I’ll write,’ I say.

He steps towards me. ‘You did it again,’ he says. He lifts a hand as if to touch my arm, but we both know he never will. ‘You got lost, didn’t you?’

‘No,’ I say. ‘Not so bad. I got tired, this time. Just tired.’

‘So you’ll write?’

I nod. ‘I’m back,’ I want to say, but my words stick fast to my teeth, like too many toffees. By the time my tongue works them free, he’s gone.

I turn for home, and I feel it again, through my bones. The beat of something joyous. The re-starting of an energy that I don’t control but depend upon utterly. The energy without which my world is miserable and beige, everything I love beyond a curtain I cannot draw.

I smile, suddenly, and fling out my arms as I walk. My feet hit the ground with a different rhythm, the old one, with purpose and direction. Slippety-slap, slippety-slap, echoing, repeating: vital and alive.

Author: mrscarlielee

Mother. Writer. Wearer of frocks with wellies. Loves Dancing, Frivolity and Good Books. Tweet @MrsCarlieLee

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