Joining with Amber on Mondays for concretewords, where we practise writing by communicating the abstract through concrete things – a Horse, a book, stairs – and today The Box. These concrete words posts have led me on a journey through childhood and nostalgia and spiritual maturity – I write and that’s what comes out at the moment. Join me?
We returned home, sun-tanned and happy-tired and discovered that we’d been burgled.
We went from room to room, assessing the damage. The china set from Aunty had been dropped on the floor, still in the box, mainly in tact. They must have been interrupted.
I could hear my mother sobbing in her bedroom: the jewellery box with the dancing ballerina and her jewellery passed on from her mum was gone.
In the lounge, Dad found they’d taken all the CDs – apart from his copy of The Very Best of Shakatak, which wobbled alone in the empty CD rack. (That they should have exercised such quality control was as darkly humorous as it was insulting.)
I ran up the two flights of stairs to my attic room, raced to the cupboard in the corner and felt amongst the foam mattress and boxes – my £2,000 flute was still there. I had hidden it as a precaution. It was the only thing of value in my possession and it was safe.
I hugged it to my chest and quickly scanned the rest of the room – my favourite verses stuck with blutack above my bed, my crucifix, the poster of Richie from the Manic Street Preachers all eye-liner and bones, the scrumpled-up jeans on the floor, platforms worn down at the heel, my Forever Friends duvet cover. There were drawers hanging half-open, old train tickets, cards, earrings in disarray, books flung on top of files, more books balanced on piles of unwashed clothes.
I exhaled, relieved. It was just as I had left it. Perhaps they had not come up this far.
And then I noticed something different on my candle shelf. There was something awry in the mix of coloured wax blobs and burnt matches. Next to my bootlegged Suede and Blur tapes – it should have been there. I was sure I had left it there.
I checked – it was gone: a small pink box with a metal heart-shaped lock, crammed with various treasures and all my diaries written at primary school.
It was just a silly little pink plastic box. Why had they even taken it?
I pictured them, balaclavas off, cracking it open, sifting then discarding – no, worse – reading and sniggering.
I am the only one allowed to laugh at my devoted scribblings, my juvenilia. I am allowed to cringe at the exclamation marks and doodled hearts – you are not. I am allowed to laugh at these because I laugh with fondness, a protective indulgence of my seven-year-old self.
Ten sums on the board today – takeaway sums as usual and BORING days and she broke friends with me again today, left alone in the corner of a field; and roller skating on proper roller boots, red with blue stripes; and I wonder if he’ll marry me; I sat on a cold step outside the basement at school and there was no fairy at the bottom after all. These rainbow-coloured biro entries written small with the small things of life.
There was now only a blank, dustless spot on the foil with the candles.
I sat on the bed with my flute case heavy in my lap. I had hidden the wrong thing.
Over to you:
- Did you keep a diary as a child? What were your ‘small things written small’?
Health update: Well. My GP said, “let’s do this logically” and after all the blood tests and chest X-rays had come back normal, and I was still unable to say more than two words without gasping for breath and having to grip onto the walls, we cut out a medication i had been taking for a while. i told her it wouldn’t be that, because i had never had side effects on it before – but it was, and now we’re a week on and i am feeling SO much more human, a normal amount of ill. I can breathe again! Being able to breathe is good. i am so relieved – and so thankful to all who were praying. I am still waiting for an appointment with my ME specialist, and still need to chase them up about their administrative snafu that meant i was lost in the system, but at least i know that it’s not as urgent as it was before. I can wait a little longer. Fear has given way to hope, and it’s bubbling out everywhere. THANK YOU for your prayers.
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