On cutting the grass
By Parson Thru
Inspiration comes in many forms. I’ve ordered a book on Amazon. The inspiration came from listening to a review on Radio 4. Was it the book? The review? Or maybe the programme or presenter? I’d just dropped N at Manchester Terminal 3, hugged, kissed and watched through the barrier into Departures. Made that walk back alone over the bridge to the multi-storey, driven down the helter-skelter and out through the barrier to find the M56, M60 and finally M62.
I’d switched the radio on somewhere on the M60 outer ring-road. It must have been just before four-thirty in the afternoon. The lump in my throat had gone. She would be through security, I was heading to a motel north of Bradford. A necessary stop-off. Two lives in one shared existence. In Spanish: the other half of my orange. The names Henry Normal and Bobby Seagull caught my attention. Traffic was building. No way the drive back would be as quick as the drive out.
A giant sob keeps rising like indigestion. It passes.
This morning was bad. I tapped a poem into Word on my phone sometime around 3 a.m. It was fractured, sharp-edged and depicted those hours punctuated by my mother’s backwards and forwards trips to the toilet outside my bedroom door. Perpetual dehydration and constant infections make this a hell on earth for us both.
Her mood is worse by the day. Arthritic pain, urinary pain. She has little, if any, generosity. The carers, me, my dad are all in some way culpable. Still, somehow, today’s carer and the mobile hairdresser brought some light and humanity into the house. Caught in mid-vacillation, my mother followed the driver out to the day-club bus.
I brunched around one p.m.
The fridge had been switched off last night. The butter seems to have survived. I keep a stash of fruit loaf on a high pantry shelf. A banana kept things healthy. WhatsApp messages from Africa. WIFI is sporadic. Things are ok, more or less. Final leg into the field tomorrow.
I brought the little Roberts downstairs and put it on the dining room window. The laptop’s on the table. Too many words on Radio 4. Radio 3: opera. Never a fan. Turned down, it gives just enough of what I need. I started reading an old TLS. Football. Easier to lean back and close my eyes for a while. Images tumbling past. The driving maybe. Micro-doze. Siestita.
The wind’s blowing outside, but the sun is shining. The grass in the back garden is long. I’ve vacuumed upstairs and down, washed her bedding and trousers. I could just relax. The grass is long. It’s March, after all. What date? Twelfth. Mid-March. The wind will be drying the grass. And the sun. Sod it.
I checked the last of the tumble drying. Dry enough. Took it upstairs. She’ll never notice I’ve done it. She does everything anyway. Dragged the cheap but effective mower out onto the grass. Unreeled the extension lead. Plugged in. Will it work? Of course.
Grass cutting is one of those tasks like emulsioning. The thoughts just start flowing. Add driving to that. First thing, the book. I stopped and took out my phone. Still nothing from the CPN. I left another message just after lunch. Nothing. Google. Amazon. I had to look the book title up on the BBC site. Buy it.
I bought it. Then continued push-pulling the mower up and down the lawn, digging deep into the lush grass, ducking under the clothes dryer (unused). A book can be so much more than the words it contains.