My friend Sharon does not like soup. She says it’s boring because it is exactly the same from beginning to end, and that when she orders food in a restaurant she wants some variety, for each forkful to be slightly different.
I have been reading a book for the last month and a half. It’s not like me at all to stall for so long on a single novel. It had started so well; clever sentences, neat turns of phrase and well defined characters, but as the novelty wore off each part felt indistinguishable from the one before and the one which came next. Initially I found myself peeking ahead to see how many pages I’d have to get through before the next chapter, but then I realised that even the chapter headings were only arbitrary pauses for breath in a five hundred page bowl of soup.
Staying at Philip and Sharon’s for Easter weekend, I was woken up at half-seven by the morning sun washing through the wide windows, unobstructed by the light white blinds. If I’d been at home I know I would have stayed in bed for ages, wasting time on my phone and waiting for Kelly to wake up. But the light was so insistent, and Kelly was so asleep, that I felt like finding something better to do.
After a shower I made my way down the steep stairs to the kitchen and found it empty. Only just vacated, though; the dishwasher hummed with a load, only just switched on, and the kettle showed signs of recent warmth. I surprised myself by running the tap in the sink to do some of the washing up from the night before, only to find there wasn’t enough hot water. The remnants of the last night’s meal were out on the sideboard – a wooden board studded with cumin, a metal bowl with the last of the chick pea mash, a cookbook open to a favourite page, splodged with stains.
I made my tea, and took a cup up for Kelly who acknowledged it with as few words as she could get away with. I knew even as I put it on the bedside table that it was likely to get cold before it got drunk. Back downstairs, the same sunlight that had woken me up bathed the living room with a golden light and the wooden floorboards shone. Martin the cat, in the chair in the corner, gave me a disdainful stare and tried to pretend I wasn’t there.
The stillness was beautiful, a time when I was never awake in a house I had only been to once before, a peek into the routine of somebody else’s life. So I curled up on the sofa, head at one end, feet at the other, with my tea coming to the perfect temperature on the graceful round table next to me and I read until my book was finished. And it could have been the moment itself, or it could have been the combination of the sunlight and the silence and the steam from the cup and the stares from the cat, or maybe it was being in a room that was meant to be read in and written in, but every last mouthful was delicious.
Proximity, and Revelation. - Usually, things are just the distance away that they seem to be. Neither closer, nor further away, just where they should be. Our eyes find them and,...
2 days ago