I was standing in the village herbal apothecary ordering a homoeopathic remedy for my cat when the text from Son of Signs came, saying:
Hi. Feeling like it's all got a bit much now. Don't think I'm up to another 11 weeks of this stress. I've talked to the college, and they've agreed to let me defer for a year. x
I rushed out into the bright, late morning sun and tried ringing him from my mobile, wondering how I could have mis-read the signs so badly. Revising for finals at Oxford is stressful and intense, certain high places are out of bounds to make it harder for young people on the edge to go and throw themselves off. When I last spoke to my son he sounded fine. But isn't that often the way? I rang his mobile. It rang twice and went to voicemail - oh, my poor boy! Then another text from him came:
I think I'll put shaving foam inside his easter egg.
I have always believed everything. Gullible, c'est moi. How can a sharp-thinking, talented woman of the world be like this, is what you are probably wondering, and believe me, if someone were to rush in shouting that the Martians had just landed on the village green I would be the first one on the scene to have a look, while the other gullibles were making a quick get-away in their four-wheel drives (I will say this for me - curiosity would be a stronger impulse than paranoia).
There is something good about being gullible though, or at least open to the idea that anything might be possible. Look at me in my star motif tunic with the batwing sleeves and orange lining, see how light I travel with my small leather bag on the end of a stick that is really my magic wand, but hey. The white flower is appropriate for I am innocent, (though cynics might call me almost too stupid to live), and yes, I really am about to walk right off the edge of that precipice. I believe in god and the angels, the star over Bethlehem, father christmas, easter bunny*, flying saucers, the lucky coins my grandma kept in a box, the thing that happened on the third day.
* I saw it with my own eyes running under an apple tree when I was five, leaving a trail of tiny chocolate eggs wrapped in shiny paper.