It’s Christmas Eve and I ought to be excited. I ought, also, to be calm. But I’m not. I’m restless and agitated, on edge. If I were a dog, my heckles would be up. A person: I’m all spines and spit. Like Goldolocks: nothing is right – too hot, too cold, too thick, too lumpy… too light, too dark, too full, too empty; the usual suspects disappoint and the old favourites fail.
As I move from place to place – wandering up busy streets, traipsing down deserted alleyways, past places that are decorated and places that are dark, shivering and cold because there is a sharp wind and it’s raining out: I’m aware that I’m searching for something, although I’ve no idea what. The inner child is crying. The outer adult longs for tender words. Despite spending a relaxed morning with my dog, her first outing since arriving: I am fearful, wondering how to dispel the encroaching shadow before it joins forces with my own faint line.
Tomorrow is unprepared: full of desires but empty of plans. It’s a bit like my life, which tilts forwards and backwards.
At least there will be surprises tonight – like a Hoover, a lamp and several decorations: small things that, collected, make enough of a difference to lift the place. When you can’t bear to walk on the floor because of the dust, or spend a moment longer than you have to in a room because it’s dark and empty and that depresses you: it’s time to act.
We do what we can, using what tools we have. We reach for the sky. Sometimes we touch the clouds. Big things… little things… bright things… tired things… they all count. Given the resources and the lack of ready materials, I consider the improvements a miracle.
by Rebecca L. Atherton
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