A self indulgent bit of practice writing. I found this lurking in the corner of another folder. It is often surprising when you come across an older piece isn’t it and you think – Oh, I don’t remember this. Hmm it’s not that bad.
Before I rounded the corner I couldn’t have known. I have wondered since what difference that would have made. If I had some sort of premonition it would have changed things completely of course, but by how much? Would it have been enough?
It had been an ordinary morning, no, no, that’s not true is it? It was a glorious, early spring morning. My room had been chilly but bright, the yellow walls glowed and the furniture gleamed where the light had finagled its way through the gap in the curtains. For a while I’d enjoyed the play of light and dark around me, the mirror gleamed in the corner and light from the hallway gave me yet another shade of illumination, more yellowy, homely. The clock counted my life breaths away and the heating clicked and ticked as the old iron radiators stretched and eased into the day.
Birds were serenading the sunshine and I could make out the distant hum of cars on the motorway across the field. A gentle tinnitus, always there and no longer disturbing, the barely acknowledged soundtrack to my ordinary day, my extra-ordinary day.
The coffee was a new packet. The hiss of opening heralded a rich meaty aroma and I drank it in breathing deeply to fill a space in my memory before I drank it in hot, black and scalding on my tongue.
Bare toes curled on the cold kitchen tiles and then rubbed along the hallway carpet back towards the bathroom. Again cold on the soles of my feet and then the hardness of the shower cubicle. The plastic rattle of the curtain rings, so familiar and ordinary but today pronounced and discomfiting. Did my soul know? Was there some knowledge on a deeply subliminal level? Maybe but , hell I don’t know.
The blue sky smell of fresh laundry as I rubbed at my skin with a clean towel and the hiss of water in the sink as I brushed my teeth, it was all the same. Today though as the silvery cascade splashed and gurgled in the white porcelain a shiver ran through me, someone dancing on my grave? an angel flying through the room? or maybe just a cool draft in the steamy air.
Soft cotton, smooth linen, elastic and leather.
There is no smell like that of toasted bread and, as the knob of butter slid and melted under the glow of plum jam, I reached for the radio. Something stayed my hand, the quiet was special today, blessed and perfect and so it was preserved. That was why I lost track of the time. That was the start of the rumbling, tumbling actions and reactions that led me to the corner, just then at that precise second.
I glanced at my watch, I was late. Not catastrophically but definitely late and so I left the dishes on the table, and slid my arms into my jacket, picked up my satchel and left. I left.
There was no-one in the street, how strange that a few millimetres difference in the sweep of hands on the clock remove what is familiar and turn home into a foreign country. I strode through this strange land, there was no red car at the end of the road, Mr Jenkins didn’t wave as he turned into his garden gate, he had already gone. The curtains at number sixteen were open. It was alien, I was in the wrong moment and then I came to the corner.
Before I rounded the corner I couldn’t have known.