The people were dotted around the edges of the small park gardens with neatly kept hedgerows surrounding various flower beds with perfectly-red poppies and blue bells filling the background sea of flora. The sky blue with just a few wispy clouds and the sun hotter than spring deserved. Those who aren’t quite ready for the summer adorned light cardies despite twenty degrees and overly summer-eager men in knee length shorts that are a little too casual for the city centre and a t-shirt that has never seen the hot side of an iron.
It was a typical city lunch time. The sun was out and so were the workers. Those of the shirt and trouser attire were lucky enough to grab a space on the few sporadic benches placed around the edges of the gardens. Either that or the low steps that boxed the bottom of the large copper-green memorial at the far side. I personally prefer to take the lower class seating area of the surrounding grass. Pulling whatever plastic carrier bag I can find in my shoulder bag and sitting on that or may be on my hoodie as a last resort. I find being on the grass somewhat releasing. It’s carefree. Natures carpet. Not just that but I’m less likely to be attacked by wasps or anything stingy compared to those who use the benches. Set by the hedgerow containing all things flying and angry are instantly attracted to the shirt n’ ties that are just about to tuck into an M&S salad drizzled in sticky sweet mustard and honey dressing.
It was my first chance this year to take my lunch break outside and it gave me the opportunity to switch off from everything; mostly work. I had my book and it was time to pick up where I’d left off from a novel that had been interrupted a few months ago with so many things going on in my life. But reading in the park is the way I can pull my attention back together. A way to stop checking my Facebook updates or any other electronic distraction despite them putting in a ‘street wifi’ zone accessible from the park – just.
It’s a way to allow the tension from my stomach and my head. The week had started with such cloudiness inside. The crowded nature of the things in my house. I hoard things that have memories attached to them, some useful and some keeping boxes full. Some things around the house were furniture from when I lived with Maddie. Frozen memories within a table or that one glass from our first place together which was the only one not to get cracked or smashed and has somehow survived several home moves. The problem is, despite these memories being good memories, they are also a permanent reminder of why we split up all those years ago. The gender thing had been the unfixable elephant in the room. A permanent reminder that encourage grief not for someone who isn’t dead but grief for the relationship and our plans. Then again some days I just don’t think about what these items represent and how powerful their presence is and that is how they get to stay where they are.
Over the last six months or so I’ve made an effort to throw away at least those things that I shouldn’t hold onto. Things that have no materialistic value, no informative value and very little emotional value other than to remind me of something that happened when we picked up that flyer for the local doctors or the bill for the hotel we stay when we had so much fun. Boxes of things just set aside taking up space and trying to keep my feet in this pond of honey pulling and stopping me moving forwards.
While the possession that are heavy in their effect are being dealt with over time I find myself clearing spaces. The bedside tables in the bedroom with a slowly growing pile of self help books when I’m only reading one are returned to the bookshelf. The price tag off a pair of jeans or a top left laying next to my precariously on-view lipstick and eyeliner on the other bedside table. It might be satisfying seeing the Twelve size rather than some waist size and an M for male but it’s still eventually clutter.
Much like clearing up the clutter around me I am also clearing my thoughts and tension. Space to move and to think. The reading in the garden park at lunch time had transformed to the grass on the lawn at home by the weekend. Spreading a couple of blankets on the freshly cut blades and throwing down a few cushions and recreating a space without the clutter. An hour with a book laying in the sun. No thoughts about gender, work or relationships or there lack of. Just emersion into a fictional world and when I return to the present my thoughts will be clearer. Clearer about what I want next.
With cold air drifting in at the end of the afternoon it was a reminder that summer wasn’t quite here and my time on the grass would be limited, at least for now, and much like the cold wind I realised that I’m not quite ready for huge changes.
Until next time