Saturday, 31 January 2009

Why can’t I just be happy?

It’s a beautiful winter’s day outside the window. I watch the dog-walkers use the small alley cut-through to the park, and let their dogs off the lead a safe distance within to gambol joyfully in the pale sunshine. The nearby junior school lies deserted, its playground empty, the primary-coloured climbing frame shiny and solitary in the sun. A cat slinks belly-low along a neighbour’s fence, and two sparrows flap startled into the air from the bare branches of a tree.

I watch it all from behind clear glass, the central heating cushioning me from the pale sun and the cool breeze. I want to go outside but I have nowhere to go, not really, not at this time of day. This time of day is for shoppers, children with pocket money, people on a mission, people in a hurry. I have no mission, no hurry. I am nothing much.

I stare ahead, but am not really seeing anymore. My mind is where it always rests, back with the novel. My thoughts whir and skitter between paragraphs, while the words ‘get a job’ bubble up from the depths like noxious gases. Everything collides and is simultaneous – my characters, my finances, my future, my story, my fears, my dreams. Underpinning everything is the hum from the hoover being worked downstairs, and the radio set to old-time classics. My mum sings, and I enjoy her happiness, even as I feel stuck in time, and somewhere out there is another me on a mission in a hurry.

I wonder what she looks like, this other me. Taller, somehow. Graceful. She looks like she is someone as she goes about her day, a real person, not a shadow. She has nice hair. I wonder if I will ever be that girl. The way to being her is through this story, I think. So here I sit, and turn away from the pale sunshine. It’s not for me today.


Rose said...

ah but sometimes I think if you don't go out it means you don't want to really. Sometimes we all need to stay in and just be. I was one of the people bustling yesterday, although not with good hair. On the outside I looked busy but on the inside my head was whirring with thoughts I wished I had time to get on paper!

Law and Order said...

Lovely post.

music obsessive said...

This reminds me so much of my last year at school. During my 'free' periods, I'd go and seek out an empty classroom at the top of the school and look out over the town.

It seemed so strange to watch the buzz of real life going on beyond the school gates and my mind would try to imagine what it would be like to be one of those people living a 'normal' (ie not school) life.

After a while I achieved a sort of out-of-body trance-like state where my body was firmly anchored in the cocoon of the school whilst my mind was roving amongst the people, delivery vans and cars on their journeys to who-knows-where.

A weird time!

Jayne said...

Hi Rose! I think my problem is that the grass always gleams greener the other side of the fence. That, and a slight money crisis! I think you are right, some days it’s better to just go with the flow. I hope you get a chance to get your thoughts on paper!

Jayne said...

Hello AW! Glad you enjoyed it, thank you for letting me know. :)

Jayne said...

Hi Martin! That is a nice image you have created there, I can really picture that. I am also picturing your town then to be a bit like a Richard Scarry illustration – everyone scurrying around Busy Town doing chores. It’s not much of a jump to go from imagining things like that to writing stories about those people in their delivery vans and on their journeys… or songs, perhaps!