Dust settling

Dust settling

I’m out. It’s early. The children are only just setting off for school. With their mothers, mostly. A little girl walks with her brother. Independent. They laugh together. He holds her hand so tightly.

I had to get out. There are too many men in the house.

I should explain.  A maintenance job and a small but messy alteration has rendered most of the house out of bounds for the day. At the planning stage some weeks ago, it seemed wise to fit both jobs in at the same time. Different parts of the house so workmen would not be tripping over one another. Get it all over and done with. Definitely a clever move. Come the day, though, it’s total disruption. The contents of the sitting room are in the garden. The contents of one bedroom are in the other. The kitchen is out of action for the day. Maybe for tomorrow as well. I had no idea this much dust could be unleashed in this little house. And everyone is trying to break the sound barrier.

“Do you want to take a kettle upstairs?” said the chap sanding the floor.

“No,” I reply, “I’ll just go out”.

So, I’m out and about. Day release.  Away from the easy diversions of daily chores. Early morning at a sunny spot on the High Street where tables and chairs clutter the pavement as they have all summer. I sit at one and sip a coffee. It’s aggressively, grittily bitter. I’m not enjoying it. Cars and vans, buses and lorries parade up and down publishing their promises: the 281 will take you on a journey to Hounslow; with the refuse truck you get ‘a greener choice’; Tesco is ‘freshly clicked’.

Is it summer or autumn? The dust has settled on the long, hot summer. Cool nights distil the air so that mornings are brilliant. The sky so evenly blue. Spray-painted, perhaps. Unblemished. Could be June. Not July for that would be hazy with summer dust and all-day heat. Yellows and bronzes play at the edges of the trees, like dazzling crystals of tourmaline or topaz sewn into deep green fabric. Only these tell of autumn.

And the fact that I had to rummage around one of the still accessible cupboards for a thick woollen sweater early this morning.

I had relished the prospect of today. Theoretically. Like a day off. The freedom to roam without a list of tasks to be done. The list exists but the addressing of it is impossible. Out of reach of excuses to postpone the stuff that needs few props. Thinking. Writing. Yet I’m restless. Things I didn’t think through. Eviction from my usual space, though planned, seemed to come too suddenly.

Unprepared. I’m wearing the wrong shoes. I packed the wrong bag. I remembered the laptop but not the lead so soon it will die on me.

The dust doesn’t seem to settle on a dislocated day.

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