What’s the story?

(A spoken word piece)

I have always been a stickler for a story.

In class at Primary, I would set my imagination to work, creating lengthy tales for my creative writing lessons.

Time spent picking at words, shifting them on the fine lines of the creative blue workbook;

That was the same as my best friend Paula’s, which was the same as Nathan’s, which was the same as Ben’s, which was the same as Kelly’s.

But inside it wasn’t the same- inside mine, the words wound their way round margins, beyond pages and into gaps until there was no option but to ‘give that girl a star’; A house point; A recommendation slip; A cup in assembly.

So perhaps it was inevitable,

That I would take the need to make a story that bit further

than the notebook and use the landscape of life as a pencil.

Now I am in that story that I created.

That I have waited for,  My reality is one that I have carefully crafted -this,

this life, an attempt to become some One

(With the emphasis on the one, because the other part

Of the story has not begun, the part where the stranger walks in and you realise that they arnt a stranger, they are the person that you have known, but just haven’t met them fully yet.)

And it is funny because in this story I have created on purpose,

The thoughts and the plans the characters and settings are now a reality. I am,

living it. Living the dream except you could take the ‘dre’ and perhaps place another three letters alongside them. Like ‘ad’ or ‘ary’. Because it is tiring and its convoluted and its lonely at times.

But at the end of the week there is the sense of having done something worthwhile

And I guess to me, that is important, to do something worthwhile

But when it takes the smile off your face, what does that say

When the end of yesterday

Is still chasing you, even after you have turned into the street of today

And the life you have made has taken a little too much energy

Replacing it with complacency

In how I present words, muddying the narrative of my role as a Mum.

And there was smallest insisting they bring the red ball and I said no and carefully explained why in my best, “I’m pretty tired, but here is my last bit of text book mumming for the day, way’.

” No, I am not listening to you”, arms folded, head turns.

And then I exploded and having run dry of real reason, I stuck with what I gave and got a blast of five year old obstinance which I deftly swallowed and internalized as my own. And there we sat head to head, horns locked, until I eventually decided that sitting in the car while I waited for the situation to deescalate was probably not the best use of our time and so I ordered us both out. Hand in hand we marched, hum shouting out his annoyance at me, me, who he wanted to run away from at the that moment, because I was not being fair, and I had made him angry.

Me asking him not to shout at me, otherwise mute , in the rain, crossing the road in the spotlight of the car head lamps illuminating his red face and my staunch frown

Until we got home and the temper rises and then falls, the words getting put on paper, (I cannot help at this moment being amazed at his ability to write a sentence. telling me what he would like to do, which is to give me a hug) ,and so we embrace and he goes upstairs to tell middlest about his love for his family, while they cruise round the kitchen preparing tea and singing.

His evening sets off again at a pace more suited to him.

I meanwhile, sit on the floor in the bathroom

And deplore, in that instant, myself, the feeling , sweeps over me and tucks itself in around my feet and mind, where it stays like a shroud, reminding me of what I should have been in that instant what I should have  done, how I should have felt and what I have done to his small mind, just by failing to be what he needed right then.

Then upstairs to help prepare tea

And clean the living room

And play Mandy and Norman with smallest

And finish the washing

And put smallest to bed

He tells me I am wonderful

And I feel the punch of mother guilt that I was not calm.

I was cross. How could I have been annoyed at that face?

And we read a book

And middlest serves tea and we listen to NKOTB on single which she brought me from the charity shop, and we chat about Spotify, and we listen to the Sweet Harmony by Liquid and then I drink a glass of wine.

And it should be fine because its Friday, it’s my free day

And it is my night

Where I write and listen to Tom Ravenscroft

With incense and chocolate

But not tonight. I escape to the bath and lay and then go back

And sit with dirty traces of cortisol that have left

Me sad and uninhabitable

And watch the EastEnders omnibus

(You are not being nice)

And stir hot milk in the pan

(No I will not)

Where I can see a line of burned milk forming

(You are so unfair)

And I drink the hot chocolate and read Ali Smith

(You have made me so cross)

And resist the urge to look at what Putin’s doing to the world

(I am so sad mummy)

And turn off the light

And ignore the urge to recall it again.

That will corner me tomorrow,

In the story I write now.

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