Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

What I Will Tell My Son About COVID-19

My eyes are staring back at me,

inquisitive and destined for exploration.

They want an explanation,

help with homework,

because a hellish phase of my life has now become history,

and I am a book,

as well as a chef,

so as I make dinner,

I don’t deny my curious companion the answers.

“Madre…”

The water simmers softly around the pasta,

a tiny hand,

that was once much smaller,

shyly pulls on my dress.

“What was the war on COVID like?”

Of course, it becomes a war,

because Britain cannot face its past,

without overdramatising.

“Overwhelming.”

My eyes meet mine again,

wide and wondering,

as I continue a lecture I still don’t feel qualified to deliver.

“I went walking in the park every day.”

He wants more.

“Your uncle made a lot of cakes.”

More, Madre.

“Grandma got a dog.”

I don’t tell him that I went to the park,

just to weep for what I was losing,

money,

my mind,

months at a time,

just wandering in the darkness,

waiting for relief that would never come.

I don’t tell him that the cakes came to pass,

because his uncle found me,

tear stained in the bathroom,

and he thought that filling my mouth with sweet treats,

would stop me saying I couldn’t stand life any longer.

I don’t tell him that grandma got a dog,

because she was locked away,

for far too long,

and she needed noise,

some warmth inside the quiet walls she called home.

I tell him about the singalongs,

weekly wailing applause,

zoom quizzes,

work from home sleep ins,

fighting back giggle fits,

when my first Covid test made my nose ticklish,

and the absurd exhilaration that his uncle and I felt,

when McDonalds was finally back on Ubereats.

I gently tell him of the loss,

how I was lucky to keep hold of each piece of my heart,

I let him imagine some of the drama,

so he can think of me as a hero,

but I never really tell him about lost,

lonely nights,

sleepless and never ending,

hospitals that became hell,

every night on the news,

pleading with the windows that stood between hearts to disappear,

how he was lucky to keep hold of his ability to exist,

because I almost lost mine.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Personal, Writing

I love you, Mother

I cried once,

on Christmas Day,

alone in the kitchen,

because you said that you were proud of me,

and I was overwhelmed,

uncertain if I deserved adoration.

Being proud of me must have been a long road.

I know that I trouble you,

without ever meaning to.

I used to see myself as an iceberg,

bound to break you,

dragging you down to my glacial despair,

but something you were bound to,

nonetheless.

I think I’ve melted,

and I’m not sure what I am now.

Christmas is coming,

I think I’m due another cry,

it’s been a rough year,

I haven’t seen you since February.

I met a nice man, mother.

I think you’ll like him,

so you have to promise that we’ll meet again,

at some point,

far away,

preferably near,

but fate doesn’t factor in my wants and needs,

when it throws me into situations.

Don’t you think I’ve lived through enough?

The planes that fell,

the markets that followed,

the fear that sank into the streets,

making them mean and intimidating.

I feel like I was young so long ago,

with each new event making it easier to forget,

when I was with you,

happy and whole,

before the twenty four hour news cycle,

and the cycling memories of my own personal hell.

You were right about the very first one, mother.

It’s so long ago,

that sometimes I forget,

except on the thirty first of December,

when I cry all night,

trying to stop myself from going back in time.

My skin was a canvas,

and his art was not made to be understood.

He was so full of rage,

his brushes were vile and violent,

but I stayed because I was desperate to be loved.

Something inside of me is broken, mother,

but it cannot be fixed,

so I just hope for kindness from a cruel world,

and try to survive.

This one is nice, mother.

He kisses me,

as if I am a beautiful girl,

and not as if I am a hole for him to enjoy.

I haven’t touched a drink in months,

and I haven’t lied about it in minutes,

but you don’t need to worry,

because I only drink with my nice man,

and he’s nice,

so I won’t get up to any mischief,

or end up in places I shouldn’t.

He makes me go to bed at a sensible time,

and I wake up waiting for him to kiss me,

as if I am a beautiful girl.

He always does.

You told me that I deserved to be happy,

and I think that I am,

at last.

I am locked in the house,

again,

not by love,

but by law.

I’m fine on Saturdays,

fucked up on Sundays,

sinking into the bleak routine of getting by on Monday Morning,

and I wonder,

if you find yourself frustrated,

that I was born,

so clean,

but ended up such a mess?

I love you, mother.

I want to cry again.

Please make me cry.

Posted in Blog

Gwen

You always took too long to say goodbye.

You were famous for it,

for the frustration of people who found themselves in your web,

watching you spin another conversation,

from the thin promise of “I’m gonna let you go.”

Crossed legs,

crossed eyes,

as you crept into monologues,

about that woman down the shop,

that nobody knows,

but you,

but we are expected to,

because you want to tell us an anecdote,

that could probably wait.

Nowadays, I wait,

for a call that never comes,

thinking fondly of the long goodbyes,

trying to force them over the final moments,

when I lay alone in bed,

midday,

and someone called quickly,

to say that it was all over.

For the first time,

the final time,

you said goodbye too quickly,

the one time I wanted you to take too long,

you couldn’t stay,

fading from the scene,

from a hospital bed to heaven,

as I listened to your favourite song,

again and again,

unable to say goodbye as quickly as you finally could.

Posted in Blog

A Quiet Life

They’re complaining again, and I’m trapped, somewhere in the ceiling, because that’s where I was left, when everyone ran away and it suddenly became my job to avoid their ever changing moods, and daily drinking binges.

I type out a text, with my own complaints, about how I’m so tired from all the tornados, how I’m sick of standing alone, in the ceiling, with no solidarity, while hell unleashes below me, because everyone I know (but me, apparently) is afraid of talking like adults about their grown up gaffes, none of which are mine, so why am I here? And why did you bring this to my door? And don’t you know I’m too old and too jaded for this drama?

They’re complaining again. I think they’ve had cider, and I’m an enabler, because I got it for them, to save an argument, because even in my ceiling, I’m afraid, just like them, even though I stayed, I’m afraid, I’m just looking for a quiet life. A quiet life is a luxury I will never afford, in this economy.