The Christmas tree is lying on its side by the bins. It has a gold ribbon still tied to one of the branches and it waits for me. Do something good with me, it says, don’t let me go this way. I say it must wait. Everything must, I am sorry, but there it is again. And January, of course, which brings renewal or things breaking down, depending on how you look at it. The car lights need fixing, the computer is malfunctioning, the boiler needs replacing, someone has tried to access my online bank account, I have been overcharged on my mobile phone. And all around the little house is stuff – piles of it, or so it seems when one is able only to lie on the sofa or bed and look at it.
Oh wash me, say the sheets that appeared as though by magic from an overlooked laundry bag – son’s laundry bag – yesterday, just prior to his going back to Oxford. Oh recycle me says the army of empty bottles, ditto and gather me, say the newspapers that are everywhere in grumbling piles. Attend to me, says the rusted gate fallen from its hinges, and the room that needs a damp course is quite beside itself, neglected as it has been.
Be quiet, I say, I am doing my best which, at this particular moment, may be nothing at all, but it is my best.
Oh write me, says the novel, compose me, cry the poems, give voice to us, the words all shout, falling over one another in the attempt to be heard. And Live me, says the life that is pressing against the window; an astonishment of blue, a clear , cold winter’s day. Let me bite you, it says.
Yes yes, my darlings. Soon. I promise.