Today I have been thinking about…pee.
In a house with two boys under ten, it’s all about the pee. Banning ‘toilet talk’ from the table doesn’t help with the other 23 hours. The word ‘butt’ reigned: until last week, when they graduated to the word ‘booty.’ I’ve gone to zero tolerance mode on the state of the toilet. If I arrive in the bathroom and it is not even up to my lax standards of cleanliness, that’s bad.
And last night I received the least favourite of night time visits – ‘Mum, I’ve peed the bed again.’
Stripping and griping, I wondered if I could squeeze out some positivity, along with the pee, from these experiences. Of course I can. Some people don’t get to have any children, and others don’t get to snuggle them into their own beds every night.
Imagine Esty’s childhood.
Prayers, rules, blessings before everything, thanking God. Sharing a bed, hardly any toys, endless chores. Father out studying or praying. Mother always busy.
No television, no cinema, no computer. Sabbath: no driving, pressing switches, tearing paper.
Glimpses of another life, so near yet so far. Are those people good or bad, sad or happy? Covert skimming through a discarded newspaper provides an inkling or two. Esty begins to envisage herself in that other world.
Escape. That’s the easy part. The months ahead will determine whether Esty can acclimatise to this new life. Can she ever feel completely at ease? Will Mark wait for her?
Miriam’s Book: Neither Here Nor There is available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes and elsewhere.
Miriam Drori can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad and on her website/blog.
‘38.4,’ Mr HB said. ‘Or three degrees higher than mine.’ We don’t really trust the thermometers in our house. ‘Should I cancel the babysitter?’
I was still on the train, a thread spooling back towards my family, normality.
At the doctor, half four the next day, it was 38.6. Then she found a non-blanching spot. ‘Just to be sure,’ she said. ‘I’m comforted that he’s alert.’ Plans were broken up and hastily remade into a different jigsaw.
The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is a twenty minute drive from my house. We arrived at half five. By six, we’d been seen, by seven examined thoroughly, bloods by half eight, discharged by half nine.
Today, I’m grateful for so much.
For the friend who looked after my eldest with ten minutes notice.
For the NHS.
For our good health.
For my boys.
The first line of a book can be as mouth-watering as a ripe fig, and you don’t want to finish it all in one bite. Here are some delectable examples.
The young boys came early to the hanging. (Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett);
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. (Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier);
Dennis Lenahan the high diver would tell people that if you put a fifty-cent piece on the floor and looked down at it, that’s what the tank looked like from the top of that eighty-foot steel ladder. (Tishomingo Blues, Elmore Leonard);
Four months to the day he first encountered the boy at Walmart, the last of Phil Pendleton’s teeth fell out. (Sour Candy, Kealan Patrick Burke).
And my offering: I wake on the beach and discover I’m naked. (The Second Path, Virginia King).
Today I have been thinking about…going.
Not across the eternal river, don’t worry. Going, generally, to that party, event, reading, gig; the one you had absolutely decided not to go to after all.
Yesterday, I wasn’t going. The kids were going to go with their Dad. I was going to use the time to work, those elusive hours on a Friday half-day.
But as they donned their outer wear, it pinched at me, so I decided to go. I was glad I did.
A community gathered, sang, celebrated, even selected one of their own for a special mention. My children wove in and out of legs to get the front. I knew everyone there, and I was so happy to see them. Lots of smiles and ‘hellos.’
Sometimes, you can gain so much, from shifting from not-going, to going.
‘Yes I’ll keep that date free, what’s it for?’
‘It’s tee bee cee,’ I say. ‘I don’t want to say too much.’
As a youngest child, I often forget that things don’t always go my way. I can remember realising that the world did not revolve around me, so I must have come to this key message very late.
But I’m in my thirties now. I’ve really come on.
Well. I’m getting there.
Then I’ll forget, and tell people something is definitely going ahead, before it’s cee.
And then, when it falls through…
If they ask, I’ll tell them. But this time it’ll be in the negative, like holding up those tiny films and seeing what was the picture, its colours washed out and reversed.
So I’m trying, instead, to say it’s tee bee cee. The most optimistic acronym ever.
Why do I write ?
My book is coming out in two days but as usual, I was too busy disbelieving my luck to stop and celebrate.
I don’t write for prestige. I know I’m not the only author out there.
I write because I love seeing my characters come to life, letting them surprise me.
I’m also discovering I love being read. The other day my sister hung up on me because she was in the middle of reading my book, A Cunning Plan. She needed to know what happened next. For two days she went to bed with my heroine and woke up to find out what she would do next.
How fantastic is that ? To know your book is making someone, somewhere, forget about his day and hardship, laugh till his ribs hurt, smile with anticipation.
How lucky !
Today I have been thinking about…rain.
It would have been hard to think about anything else, from half past two the skies were full, water bouncing off the pavements, the roof of the car. We stood like livestock in the playground, trying not to move from under umbrellas, hoods firmly up, wellies shining black slugs, getting wetter and wetter as we waited for the bell to ring.
Normally we walk but we got just as wet getting into the car, and out again. Everything went on radiators as soon as the back door was safely closed. Fire on, thermostat turned up.
Then I remembered I needed something from the outside freezer.
But as I splashed through the waterlogged grass, the scent of blossom came through the rain. A salve on this miserable day, a reminder of beauty on earth.