Category: family

The beauty of objects

She stood there, immobile, unsure how or what to start packing. Years of paints, paintbrushes, paper, clay, sculptures, twine, beads, bits, feathers and things that have no value but have all the value in the world.

‘It’s just a paperclip,’ I said. ‘You do not need this.’

A tear rolled down her cheek.

‘I don’t,’ she said. ‘Or, maybe I do. That clip held together the first painting I exhibited. I do need to hold on to it. Or, if not me, somebody else might want to use it.’

‘It’s a fucking paper clip,’ I said. ‘It goes…’

I swept it into the bag for rubbish.

This was me, helping a dear friend pack up her life. She’s moving from South Africa to England.

They have paper clips in England.

But packing is hard. The blue dress, even though it hasn’t been worn for years, is gorgeous. The teacup that’s been in bubble wrap forever; it came from a great grandmother.

Objects of beauty. Of meaning. Of memory.

What stays and what goes? What gets thrown away and what gets given away?

We went through a bag of baby clothing. Our babies grew up together. I recognised the dinosaur hat. The sippy cup. The blankie.

‘God,’ I said, ‘I cannot believe you kept these. I gave all my baby stuff away years ago. Years ago.’

I held the blanket.

And then suddenly a tear rolled down my cheek too.

Of course she had to keep the dinosaur hat.

I had to keep my dinosaur hats too.

We hold on to things because they are a part of us. They are our memories, our emotions, our ties to things and people and times.  They are love.

How does one part with anything?

I dug the paper clip out the rubbish.

‘It stays,’ I said.

She breathed in, a sigh of relief.  We both wiped our tears.  And I blew my nose into a handkerchief.

It’s the handkerchief of an old lover.  We’re not in touch anymore.

But it smells of him. It is a part of him.

It is him.

Of course I’m not letting it go.

hanky

Will you still respect me in the am?

I spent last night with two men. I have been writing about the possibility of two men, dreaming and fantasising about it, for ages.

Finally, we got it together. Me and two of the most handsome, gorgeous, bright, funny and talented men I know.  One lives in my city, one far away.

I’ve known them for a long time.  But not as long as they’ve known each other.  They’ve been friends since 1964.

That’s a helluva history.

They were school friends, family friends, getting into trouble friends, discovering girl friends, learning to kiss friends, getting to first base, then to second, parties, clubs, dancing, wild, crazy friends. They shared times that were insane and extraordinary, connected by music;  playing, singing, listening, dancing.

I’m an old friend too. They never got to first base with me (maybe they did, but a girl is discreet) but I’m their girl, their go to, their safety, their friend.

Last night we were all in the same city at the same time and they came over. We put on Tom Waits and we cooked. We smashed garlic, squeezed lemon, poured oil, marinated pork, boiled potatoes, plucked spinach, sliced plums, roasted plums, added cinnamom, star anise, butter, big blobs of butter, sugar, cream, music, whisky, wine and cognac.

The moon shone brightly. The night smelt good and the night felt sexy.

There was love.

We played music. The soundtrack of our youth.

Nancy Sinatra, These Boots were made for Walking.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, Girl from Ipanema.

Bee Gees, How deep is your Love.

Neil Young, Heart of Gold.

Joan Baez, Dona Donnna.

We took turns to be DJ. We got excited, we yelled, California Deaming, Stairway to Heaven, Bohemian Rhapsody, Night Fever. Jesus Christ Superstar.  

And Hair!

For hours, we listened we sang, we danced and we drank. We danced together and we danced alone. Sometimes I slow danced with D, sometimes with S. We did the shuffle. I go-go danced, they did the funk.

We got tired, we lay down, we closed our eyes, we carried on with the music.

We loved.

It was not that kind of love threesome.

It was the real kind of love threesome.

It was a friendship, freedom and memory threesome.

It was one of the best nights of my life.

And I did not take off my clothes.

I lie.

I did. But it was to dance outside, as it started raining.

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revalation
And the mind’s true liberation
Aquarius!
Aquarius!
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius
The age of Aquarius
Aquarius!
Aquarius!

The old people in your life

They know you.

They love you.

You love them.

images

Giving

I’m sitting on my bed surrounded by gifts and it’s all a terrible mess. I realise that there are skills involved to gift wrapping and I don’t know what they are.

Maybe I’m lazy. It takes patience to cut and fold, line everything up then still manage to snip off a piece of sellotape and stick it on the right spot.

The thing is, I do l love giving presents. I love the thought that goes into them, the time taken to choose them and the pleasure of surprise.

So although I’m bad at it, I always gift wrap. I use layers of tissue paper, gift paper, then ribbons and glitter and glitz and ja, it’s a big mess.

I love it when people really take their time and open gifts slowly. I do that. I think it shows a kind of appreciation for the gift, no matter how small. I like to slowly unwrap it, feeling, feeling as I go along.

Each tear of the paper reveals something special and hidden, each layer means a little bit more love.

I remember giving a present once to someone whose husband needed a kidney transplant and she shook the box so hard and tore it open so maniacally that I think she thought I had given her a kidney.

It was one of those terrible letdown presents, I’d given her chocolates.

But now I’m wrapping presents. It’s my sons birthday. He’s still fast asleep. But I know he’s going to wake up soon.

Unlike me he’s going to RIP the presents to shreds. Paper is going to fly, glitter will be snorted at, bows may be ridiculed.

He may well roll his eyes at some of the gifts and I’m not quite sure he’ll appreciate the fried egg socks.

But he will read the hand made and hand written card very carefully.

For him, it’s in the words.

And yeah, forget the wrapping.

For me it’s all about the words too.

gift