This Time Last Year
I was resting, while the sunshine peered tantalizing in through the window, beaming on the glass its soft hello. Having been laid low by this bug for so long, I decided I felt able to take a short walk. I thought it would lift my spirits, and I could post my vote for the EU referendum in the shiny scarlet postbox at the far end of the road.
What was harder to decide was whether or not to wear a coat over my nightdress on such a peerless afternoon. In the end, I thought that I was unlikely to meet anyone on the journey ...so I could allow myself to sally forth in a floor skimming floral number, with the sleeves rolled up to catch the sunlight on my arms, and a jaunty silk scarf tied in a knot around my neck.
It was lovely to breathe in fresh air and to walk down the steps which have been taken over by long green stems that each hold a handful of small blue flowers in their leafy grasp. The points of the flowers are as crisp and clear as the stars small children sometimes draw.
The street itself smelt of hot tar-macadam, and the telephone wires above me cut through the perfect sky, like tram lines for magic carpets to follow.
Eight doors down I stopped at the house that used to belong to my childhood partner in crime, George. I held onto the black wrought-iron gate and looked up at the front door, which is still the same homely cherry red. I thought of all the laughter and mischief and memories that house contains and how much I have missed seeing it. I was tempted to knock, despite my dishevelled appearance, in case the new owner would let me in and in doing so unstitch all the time that's been since I was last there, as I stepped over the terracotta doorstep and into the familiar hall.
My thoughts swirled a little, like a cauldron of strange mist being stirred slowly. I felt a curious mixture of homesickness for the past, and an uplifting hope, like a waking heartbeat, to remind me that it might yet be alright; despite my fears and my battles and the sadness that sometimes rests against my shoulders.
I sighed, not unhappily, and kept going. There were two men leaning against their car and talking politics. I half covered my face with the envelope I was carrying so that later, when I meet them in polite society, I won't be the girl in the nightdress in their recollection.
After they were gone, the click of their car doors and the purr of the engine to signal their departure, I reached the postbox and had the satisfaction of hearing the letter drop into its depths.
A little girl came barrelling out of her house and onto the pavement opposite, riding a pink bike. It had a bell. Her dad followed swiftly, talking about how she had to balance properly now her stabilisers were removed, and when she wobbled ominously he caught her, bike and all, before she fell. I stood and looked around. Collecting the sight of houses, the shapes of the clouds and the freedom that was mine to bring back here with me.
Then I turned and started back, my keys jangling in my hand, side stepping something suspicious and brown on the pavement, in my midnight coloured slippers. I heard the little girls voice sing out behind me, full of curiosity and glee
"Daddy, daddy, daddy, that woman is wearing her Nightie. Look daddy. That woman is wearing her nightie"
Caught off guard, my face split into a grin. I felt silly and glad and suddenly I was laughing.
I laughed the whole way home.