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I'm Alison, that's my little boy Finn, and we are absolutely thrilled to have you at BrocanteHome!

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Monday, 5 October 2009

The Cream Cottage

And so since the day you bought it almost ten years ago the little house you live in has been white.Though much talked about, it has never been painted and now the white has a grey cast you had almost become resigned to. Almost. Never rankling you quite as much as the persistent crop of tangled weeds strangling the postage stamp that is your front garden (while simultaneously lowering the tone of a lane that considers itself a tad too well to do), but casting a shadow over a sunny little life all the same. 

Some things you see, seem impossible. And then he is there, all six foot four of him, and the pebbles too heavy to load into the car you haven't got, are stifling the life, prettily, out of the weeds in the garden and you are walking around the diy store, hand in hand, freaking yourself out while debating the merits of painting the house one of seven possible shades of masonary cream, and looking at him in something akin to heavenly wonder when he kisses your nose and tells you painting the house will only take a couple of hours, certain now that there is nothing he cannot do: bake cheesecake, transform gardens, paint houses, perform brain surgery and force you, biting your lip in utter terror, out of your comfort zone.

At night time, when he isn't there laughing at the peculiar combinations you see fit to serve up as dinner, you do not miss him. You are accustomed to your own company, greedy for the kind of independance that wouldn't dream of lifting up a paintbrush and is letting the house fall to rack and ruin: living proof that one can live in beautiful, contented shambles and only occasionally ache for the stroke of a paint splattered hand across your chin. Living proof that fear is a stubborn old mule.

Because you are a little afraid. It has been three long years of yourself, and the picking up and putting down of what went before. Of resignation and a collection of men nit-picking at your ability to trust in your own dubious judgement. After trauma, emotional or otherwise, one battens down the hatches and makes for those who are left behind, a safe haven. Your safe haven has candles and books and blankets and a little boy so precious you are only willing to share him bit by bit. A goodnight before he goes to bed here, a trip to the cinema to watch some spectacular 3D affair there, the three of you sitting grinning at each other in Micheal Cain style black rimmed glasses while eating Percy Pigtails and Colin Caterpillars and other sweeties he cares enough to go buy in his lunch hour. Then maybe half an hour in McDonalds once in a while and occasionally a few minutes out of the room while they become accustomed to each other and negotiate a friendship based on the strengths and weaknesses of various Pokemon that you will never be a part of. Leaning against the door listening. Crossing your fingers that neither will find the other an impediment to loving you. Crossing your fingers in the hope that the tall one knows what an absolute gift the little one is and treads carefully upon his dreams forever after.

At night time, when he is there you drink red wine and pinch each others weak spots. Sometimes you poke a finger into old scars just to see how deep the wound goes, force feed him olives and pine nuts and all the other things he hates just because you can and stretch the elastic of his boundaries so far back you are certain that all too soon they will snap and ping you in the face. It is early days. Both of you negotiating the weird, terrifying terrain between dating and hours spent on the sofa watching Come Dine with Me without the fluttery screen of false eyelashes between you.

And now the house is going to be cream. He will transform it before your eyes and your hard won independence will shrink a little in shame. Butter cream. A soft yellow, yielding cream, that will change your emotional landscape and have you falling in love with your little terraced cottage all over again. Falling in love. Yes. You are a little bit, a lot, in mad whimsical scary love and the thought that someone loves you back is enough to have you seeking shelter in the cupboard under the stairs. While the thought that someone cares enough to sprinkle pebbles over the ugliest of your weeds is enough to make you feel like singing it from the rooftops.

If only you could sing. Or dance. Or order an Indian meal from a restaurant that actually delivers. But alas you can't so thank goodness perfection isn't part of the deal.

Possibility is enough.



minervabird said...


Hurrah, just hurrah. Oh I am happy, happy for you. As always, beautifully written. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Anna Marie

Gena said...

Ahhhh!!!lovely,lovely,lovely! and i am happy beyond words for you both xxx

Anonymous said...

Take it all as it comes sweetie! Just relax and enjoy it all. xxxx Fleur

The Feathered Nest said...

Wonderful post Alison and I'm so excited for you!!!! Thank you always for sharing your life with us ~ cream sounds beautiful...xxoo, Dawn

Katherine said...

I have the strangest feeling while reading this--very de ja vu! I was a single mom to one son for several years... I could never articulate it as well as you, Alison!

I slowly introduced my son to my boyfriend/future husband. I will never forget the night that he took us out together for the first time--my son, 4 years old, threw the biggest tantrum at the movie store! We still tease him about it today (he is 15 now!).

Lisa K said...

Your entry made me cry with tears of sadness and joy. This part particularly spoke to me:
"After trauma, emotional or otherwise, one battens down the hatches and makes for those who are left behind, a safe haven. Your safe haven has candles and books and blankets and a little boy so precious you are only willing to share him bit by bit."
You see, I'm going through a not so pretty divorce and I have a 3 year old little boy. It's so amazingly hard. But we are strong women. I hope you find happiness with your new love:) and your cream colored house!

Kali said...

You've hit it all smack bang on the head...possibility is enough!
Happy, happy, joy, joy!
xo, Kali

SK said...

I love that you still enjoy your solitude. That is a mark of someone who is truly ready for partnership.

Anonymous said...

So you know - The tall one knows the gift of Fin and how he melts everyone he meets.

Unsure however -

How he manages to pack so much into his little six year old head,

How he can move his fingers so fast over the nintendo ds ‘be it’ with the grace of a raging bull,

Where he obtained the wisdom of an entire old peoples home,

How he can answer back with such lightning speed Steve Martin would have trouble keeping up in a battle of wit and

How even when he pushes the boundaries to show off in front of this tall stranger he looks at his mum with such cunning and love you’re unsure if there could be a mastermind behind those eyes or just a amazing little man. said...

Oh, how wonderful!!!!!!I am so happy for you and your gorgeous little boy. Thank you for sharing!

Shelanne said...

Alison! Think its time I demanded coffee asap and demanded you tell me all YOUR news, looks like I've missed something!!!! Shelanne x

Traci said...

Wow! Shiny, happy, imperfect perfection! I'm so very happy for you.

[And meanwhile, this line sent shivers:
Sometimes you poke a finger into old scars just to see how deep the wound goes...]

SK said...

"anonymous"?.....suspicious. :)

Debbi said...

Your friend is a man mature enough to appreciate an intelligent woman. . . and for a spectacular bonus, a wonderful person, too. Wise and wonderful. Nice.

Oh my, but you are a gifted writer. When the words that you write can cause an ache in a stranger's heart, I think that could be considered a pretty accurate measure of one's talent.

I have no right to, but I so much want a wonderful life for you.

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