Entertaining my demons
By Parson Thru
I wake with a jolt.
I've just kicked the wooden window-ledge with the third toe of my left foot - the same one that struck N's laptop screen edge-on half a day or 250 miles ago.
I'm in a box-room no bigger than a family-vault.
"Leaving again?" a voice asks accusingly.
It lurks beneath Jim Morrison's breaking vocal to "The End", which has been playing since I swirched-off my iPod two hours ago.
I can't get comfortable.
Deceased relatives grin down from a shelf at the end of the bed. Of the faces in the scattered frames, only me and my mam are still living.
Across the landing is the room where I lay in headphones listening to "The End" thirty-two years ago. I can still see green and red LEDs dancing in the darkness.
Beyond there is the garden where I sat with a neighbour, digging in the sandpit with our buckets and spades. My mother showed me the photo tonight - the past is all she sees. Endless, empty gardens, freshly cleared by the builders. Houses clean and crisp, their kitchen windows propped-open in a summer filled with life and plans.
That was fifty years ago. Today the brickwork is crumbling and decayed, the windows are plastic, while the gardens proliferate with trees and hedges as the ground claims back what is hers.
I drove to York to hand the car over - one of the final pieces in a long, complicated puzzle. The Fiesta was my dad's only new car - the fulfilment of his ambition. Now it has gone to my son.
This small rite has all but released me from my material bonds. The emotional ones are more tenacious.
I left my job just under two weeks ago. The biggest surprise was grief.
My mother seems to have reluctantly accepted that I'm off. She wept when I moved to London eighteen years ago.
N and I are preparing to place everything we have back in trust to live apart again, each knowing there's no gain without some risk and a little discomfort. But both our spirits are drawn by fate to new and unfamiliar lives. It makes us who we are - what we are.
"Yes." I reply to my demons.
"I'm leaving again."
Tomorrow, a train will carry me back to Weston.
In a few days time I'll arrive in Madrid on a one-way ticket to start again from scratch.
"What of it?"