My hands

Posted on 06 August 2004

It is Friday, early afternoon, and Rob and I have been into Gaillac to market where I bought some lovely yellow flowers to make the house pretty. In just a few hours I will leave for the airport at Toulouse to pick up Marlene and Bett. I am almost ready for them. I want everything perfect and of course, it never is but still, I come as close as I can.

Yesterday, I scrubbed and oiled and waxed and the main floor of the house shines. Gill wrote me a note in which she said: “I walk into the kitchen and see an abundance of fruit. I go into the bathroom and the sink shows me my reflection. The house looks beautiful. My mother darts around the house dashing down to clean up dirt. I crave words with her but my mouth is dry.”

And further in the note she says ” Did you know I have your hands? I’ve always been fascinated by my own hands, and the other day I made the connection. Our veins poke out and they seem focused and alive, a tanned goldish colour. They write, they move, they poke, they prod; they pick at the remains of salad from the bowl. It will be hard not to use mine in trying to nurture you or give you pleasure: unable to make you a salad or a sandwich to bring down to your little house.”

Why have I been graced with such a daughter?

Yesterday morning I woke grumpy and yes, I admit, hung over and slightly miserable and the voices in my head were ugly. Rob and I went to a dinner at Christine and Stan’s the night before with a another couple from the village and Stan’s dad – a charming fellow from Newcastle. But the problem was the woman of the other couple. I find her loud and abrasive and why I should try to debate with her about money is beyond me. I was no match. I hate myself when I become emotional and can’t find my neutral voice. I sound like a fool, no worse. I sound stupid and if there is anything I don’t like to sound is stupid. I embarrass myself. I wish I could learn to keep my big mouth shut. (Where are my friends, the people who understand me, who can put into words that which I can’t when I need them?)

But that was only a small note in the day. I had too much to do to dwell on small minds, small matters.

I am organized, I think, for the writing sessions. The house is ready. The pick up times arranged. The mid week feast arranged at a local restaurant. The breakfast croissants arranged.

I am so looking forward to the company of women writers and being forced to apply myself. I have been too scattered, too absorbed with other tasks.


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