Thursday, 3 January 2013

What we leave behind

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are taken off by The Hat to enjoy Proteus Theatre in The Secret Garden.

I mope about the house, lost. January blues have set in. Time is already overwhelming me. It slips by, doesn't it? When I try and catch hold of it, it's gone already, and I'm left empty-handed, wondering how did that happen?

Maybe it was Mr Death opening the year, catching us in the flick of his coat-tails, followed by the day we do best, which is sloosh about in water and mud.

Perhaps it makes me think. And the thing that I think, as I look forward to my age and stage of purple and grey, is that when you are young, you can fantasise about everything and anything and there is timeless potential to make it real. You can be anything. One day I am going to be a great photographer, learn to play the piano, travel to the Andes and learn to like watching ballet. More than that! I am also having the man of my dreams by my side with a permanent lust, I will have all the youth and energy at my disposal for any adventure required and desired, plus I will at some time in the future, unspecified, enjoy sipping cocktails, timelessly travelled to all exotic locations, perusing a train timetable, wondering whether we should hop along to Agra or Samarkand.

As the years come and go, those fantasies start to have a little less possibility about them. I'm not saying I will never attempt the Andes, or learn to like watching ballet, or board the wrong train and end up in Uzbekistan, because one or two of those goals are still just about possible, perhaps with the benefit of dementia to mislead me at the train station, but I am unfortunately starting to have a bit more pragmatism about my fantasies. I cannot delude myself as perfectly as I once did. There is an annoying squeak in my brain that tells me I will give up at the foothills because my fantasies now require a decent hotel rather than a back pack and a tent. And I know for sure I will only attempt the ballet if someone else is paying and the most comfortable seats in the house come with ice cream at the interval and no-one nudging and judging me if I nod off.

Worse, what I know I can't do, is everything else, unspecified. The whole potential of life. My one day's, might do's and could do's. Come 2013, I now have enough years to have acquired a few shrivellings and scythings, losses and lacks, and holes in the soul where a life should be, and I have the intuition that from here on, they are not going to be magically replenished.

I have decided I can do two things. I can kick out the pip squeak voice of reason and make my fantasies utterly brilliant and satisfying in any direction, comfortably safe from reality. And I can console myself with the thought that I will eventually leave behind the things that I have made or done, and hopefully they aren't only tears, a pile of unread bills and a horrible mess.

I cast around for my triumphs. They will be minor, and that is okay. They do not necessarily have to be beautiful, and that is okay too. Neither do they have to be permanent, nor cherished nor adored by strangers or onlookers. All okay.

Thankfully, the Arseface sisters seem to fit the bill. Maybe they just have to pass on something of love. Then that stitched-on smile becomes more important than anything.

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