Category: friendship

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.



‘I don’t take kindly to having the phone put down on me, Violet.’

‘I’m sorry I did that. It was churlish. But honestly, I don’t take kindly to having my messages ignored.’

‘I did not ignore your message Violet; I just knew you didn’t mean it.’

I didn’t mean it? Come on. I’d invited my difficult friend out for dinner. Somewhere lovely, with linen tablecloths and a fabulous wine list. It was my attempt at something a bit more real than what we currently have.

It was my attempt at something a little more than what we currently have.

By ignoring my message, it was pretty clear he didn’t want anything more.

So when he called me suggesting that I was avoiding him and I was the one with commitment issues and I was the one who, goddam always I, always my fault, always me, I put the phone down.

He was projecting his bullshit on to me, as I have learned, the men that I choose are prone to do.

So yeah, I put the phone down.

Silly to do that, hey.

So silly.

But very bloody satisfying.


Arrest me

I quite like taking things that don’t belong to me. It’s not that I am greedy or a thief, although really I am both, but I like the meaning behind the stolen stuff.

It’s all a metaphor.

I used to see this guy and take a can of beans from his kitchen cupboard every time we had sex.

He knew I stole them. The theft represented a no fucks attitude from me. I could be with him, have great sex, pick up my jeans, my beans, and leave without emotion.

They were good beans by the way, Italian Cannellini, or I wouldn’t have bothered.

Today I stole a handkerchief from someone else. Actually, I was crying and he said Oh for Fucks sake please stop, please please Jesus Christ no more tears, no tears, oh come on now, all right, you’re not going to stop are you, here, take it take it, use my bloody handkerchief.

I sniffed, stopped crying, took the hanky, wiped my tears and grinned.

It was a plot.

I wanted the handkerchief.

I wanted his smell on the hanky. I wanted to keep it close, to remember it, to in actual fact never let it go.

The hanky is my giving a fuck metaphor.

It represents my feelings.  Memory.

Maybe even love.

I haven’t washed it yet. And I know that when I’ve washed it a hundred times, it will still smell of him.

But I’m not washing it.  I am in fact, still using it.

I am also feeling a bit metaphored out with beans and hankies and I  just spent the last hour sitting at a bar, drinking whisky.

I left without paying.

I have no excuse for that one.

I’m just greedy.

And a thief.

Handcuff me.