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Friday, 5 March 2010

Because There Is No Milk In the House


Friday. Though there are things to be done and food to be bought, you return from the school gates and curl up with a book you need to finish before evening when the playground mummies will gather to discuss it. Though you are one hundred and seventy pages in, there are more than three hundred pages left before you will be able to deliver your view from an educated standpoint without sounding like you have gathered opinion from one of the many on the internet now seemingly shaping your personality.
You read and because there is no milk in the house, drink sweet black coffee, pulling a musty scented blanket up to your chin and turning your phone on to silent so it's shrill ring will not disturb a world inhabited by gay men and sneering politicians. You lose yourself in it and everything beyond your sofa and the furtive realm of Conservative Britain circa 1986 ceases to exist, though guilt weighs heavily on such absorption.
You are avoiding yourself: this you know for sure.

You are frightened of the weekend stretching ahead of you. A weekend that by your own insistence, you will spend alone: face to face with what you want. What you need. But before that there is an inevitable end to deal with: a story rich in vice and greed imploding on itself. With just ten pages left, at midday you find can't bear it, so you get up, unravelling your blanket like so many bandages. You find Mrs Lippincotes neatly packaged in the porch and gather it up with a fistful of bills. Then you cook plain pasta and eat it sprinkled with nothing but black pepper from a bowl older than everybody you know. Your skin feels tight, shrivelling up, no doubt, in anticipation of your 38th birthday in a few weeks time. There is no milk in the house. Your burn your thumb. For the second day running you bite back tears.

The thought of housework appals you. Days like this come rarely now, so you allow yourself the petty indulgences of self inflicted melancholy. You read the last ten pages of the book and tap two fingers into the fleshy side of the palm over and over again. You have stepped outside yourself and don't want to step back in to the obligations of housework. Or childcare. Or behaving like a normal human being. Though reading in the middle of the day strikes you as something akin to sin,  you don't want to stop, so when you put down the most deserving of Man Booker Prize winning book club choice you barely allow yourself time to cross the decades before plummeting into Elizabeth Taylor's story of a woman unwilling to conform.

Reading in the middle of the day. You suppress a tsk and carry on.

There are just two hours left now until real life will drag you back on to the playground to pick up a child still so very high on what it is to be. Suddenly having no milk in the house strikes you as the worst kind of abbhoration: the most telling sort of domestic neglect. Tonight you must go to book-club and pretend to be normal. The sort of woman mindful of what is in her fridge. You shove feet into boots as comfortable as slippers and go out into a shock of sunshine. You must not bring a child into a house without milk. Children need milk the way Middle England needs wine: for fortitude and back-bone. Comfort and strength. You walk along, opinion springing unbidden to your mind. Opinion that will die a death on your tongue when faced with the good housewives of Aughton later on. But no matter, you know what you know.

You walk home the long way, up the hill, huffing and puffing with life. The weekend is here. There is milk in the house. You are still capable of independant thought even if you cannot express it. Not so much unwilling to conform as unable. But all is well.
All is well regardless. You dab another drop of Rescue Remedy under your tongue and try to come to terms with it.

10 comments:

Avalon76 said...

*hugs you, because you sound like you need it*

It might sound cliche, but things will brighten, darling. You provide so much joy for others; it will swing back 'round again.

You used one of my very favorite Clara Bow pictures to illustrate this post, by the way. ^_^

With warm regards,
Jennifer / Avalon

Gena said...

Am a tad worried here? hope you are ok Alison,email if you want to talk xxx

Vee said...

Some may be worried, perhaps I should be, too. Instead, I am taken away by your writing. Enjoy your weekend without guilt.

A Bee In My Bonnet - Leslie Anne said...

Sweetie, is there anything any of us can do? You know any of us would, if we only knew. {{{{{hugs}}}}} Leslie Anne

P.S. Here's a couple of funnies for you:

http://www.alittletipsy.com/2010/03/your-reward-is-here.html

http://www.aprilshowersblogdesign.com/2010/02/toe-touch-my-second-video.html

Jenifir said...

Don't be hard on yourself: the best writers are not always able to express what concerns them in their inner life, the most domestic among us lose track of essentials, and allowing yourself to read in the middle of the day is compensation for some of the choices you have made to be the best Mum for Finn. I often use literature for guidance when I am contemplating life paths, you just have yet to find the right book!

The Hausfrau said...

This struck a chord with me--perhaps because I usually don't feel "normal," myself. I hear you, Sista! But I suppose we do need to have milk in the house, don't we?

sb girl said...

I am right there with you. I'm in a "don't wanna" phase right now: don't wanna read my book club book, don't wanna fill out school applications, don't wanna don't wanna carry on with the spring clean, don't wanna eat the things I SHOULD eat for good health, don't wanna watch that film I SHOULD see because it's so artistic. Decide not to do what I don't wanna do for awhile. Went 2 days without milk, but finally rallied and bought some yesterday. This too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Shrug it off, do what makes you happy. We cant recognize the light until we have been in the dark if you know what I mean. By the way I try to keep a box of soy milk in the pantry if I simple cannot leave the house . . .

Miss Hemmings said...

I haven't visited you in a while but ecky thump what's up chuck? I love the post, fantastic writing as ever! I totally understand what you mean about reading in the day and having no milk! (SCANDALOUS!) But you sound blue my love? Maybe I should read a few of your back-posts... (it's Miss Hemmings now, a.k.a mama danielle that was, just fancied a change)

SK said...

Waiting for my Mrs. Lippincotes to arrive--looking forward to it!

Today, for the first time in a couple of months, was spent doing almost nothing. We need those days once in a while!
;)
Hugs,
Kat

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