Thursday, 28 December 2017

Janus, Frances and the Sock Basket

Janus, Frances and the Sock Basket

Oh my life…it’s you! Come in, come in.

It’s nice of you to drop by. I thought you might; well, I wasn’t sure but I hoped you would, you know. Hey, you’re looking great, fantastic to see you.

Come to wish me happy new year, is that it?

You’ve caught me doing the bloody ironing. I know, never ending, I mean look at this lot. It’s got to be done, though - returning to the sandpit on Monday.

Yes, I guess so. I’ll sign on for another year or two. Well, nothing to come back for any more, is there? I did think I might. Give it another try back here, I mean, but, there’s no point now. I mean, can you ever really come back? I don’t think so.

I didn’t realise that then. You get caught in the moment. On that day, my last day, it was like the past and the future collided in a leaving present. No, it doesn’t make any sense, does it? Sorry.

I think what I mean is that on that day I walked back through the corridors and classrooms; my old office, touching our memories, breathing in the scent of our past, remembering the day I was shown round the place for the very first time. So many people to kiss goodbye; some dead, some living. But, as I walked, I was touching the future too; terrified of the unknown.

I got in the car and I didn’t glance back.

I couldn’t look you in the face that day. If I had, I might not have gone through with it. And I had to go through that door.

Shit, but look at this pile. What am I going to do with all these odd socks?

I had to keep it low key, because you know what makes me cry? Those lost people and their grandiloquent announcements. Yes? The: ‘Goodbye to that bad year’, ‘This is the year everything changes’, ‘This is the year I burn it all’, ‘No more pain for me’ Then: ‘like… like…like’.

Yet we still end up staring at a basket full of odd socks.

Look at them. It’s a sad pile, isn’t it? A sad pile on the shag pile, eh? There’s a poem in there somewhere, if we can find it - well you always did inspire me. No, you’re right, quite right - I’ll not use that one, it would be silly.

Yes, still writing, I’m afraid. You’re right, I still owe you that novel about the silk scarves, don’t I? But, I think that this bit, here and now, should be at the beginning of the first book. Begin with the conclusion, you agree? Because the end of something is always the start of something else.

Some of these socks have seen some action, though, haven’t they? Here, look at that. I’m sure it’s desert sand. And this one has grass on it. Probably from some hay field or other. Indolent hours on backs gazing up at English skies and summer sunshine. Maybe that’s where the other one went missing. Foolish laughter, running through the rye, hand in hand with careless fate.

If we laid them side by side, the colours would run from light to dark, like the merging of memories. A rainbow. From one life to the next. Looking back, looking forward.

Where did it start? The beginning of the end that led to the door?

It’s hard to piece it all together now. The death, was that it? The way everything fell apart at school? The long, long descent into the abyss of depression?

I know now that the only good was the love and friendship that came from it, though.

I mean you, of course. Well you know I do. It was always you. You gave me enough to start it all over again, didn’t you? But the start of something is always…well, you know now. You know how hard it is. Because you’ve walked through that door too.

I can’t come back, can I?

But what stories, eh? What futures lie ahead here at the end of this year and the start of the next?

You’re going now, then? A kiss to the past. Just a flying visit, I understand that. Strange. Flying visit were exactly the words I used when I walked through that door for the last time.

Here, now don’t forget me, will you? Pop back from time to time.

No, I don’t really think either of us can forget; we will always be haunted by the spells the music cast. They’re strong, those ones. There are some doors that lead to the past, and you can’t go back through them, but you can always open up the ones that lead to the future. I’m sorry too. I love you, you know.

Well I must get packing. Flight to make that leads to the future. Leave the socks behind, eh? Hang on. Hang on. I’m sure I can hear the bin men outside. Taking away the trash. Before you log off maybe you can give them these old socks.

No, no don’t do that. It’s foolish, I know, but where most people throw an odd sock away, I always think that sometimes, if you’re very, very lucky, after some time and some searching, the other one might turn up again.

Then you’d have a pair.


and be happy

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