Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cattleya

I woke, unable to remember if conservation of energy was the first or second law of thermodynamics. It raced around in my belly, sending spirals of nausea in a complicated intricate loop before Bingley sleepily reminded me that it probably didn't matter either way. I lay in bed for a bit longer, thinking over the study of the day before, sticking it down again as if it were peeling off the walls of memory in long curly strips. I watched the dawn shadows on the ceiling and walls and the sun rose in the lightly grey morning, the curtains soft white and whispering as the house breathed in and out.

I feel overwhelmed but somehow at peace. There is no more that I can learn, no more space on the walls and so my job now is to keep all those recalcitrant, hand drawn diagrams stuck using more and more glue every hour that goes by until I'm sticky and gritty and tired.

I climbed out of bed later than I intended and poured a glass of water, sipping it slowly in the kitchen, the cool morning breeze tickling my bare belly above my pyjamas that were falling off my hips. At Bingley's insistence I cut a wedge of red papaya and scooped out the glistening seeds and carried it onto the new boards of the verandah and sat on the ground. The papaya was only just ripe, orange red and firm but releasing juice between teeth and over wrist. I scooped the flesh and watched the sky. Breathed the fresh, slightly damp air as it snaked up the hill and across my clavicle, teasing the unkempt hair and tickling it across the angle of my jaw.

The tension slowly uncoiled, the wound spring losing the obvious strain; the ache in my shoulders from holding my muscles so tight receded. I relaxed back into the wall and watched the birds fly in and out of the trees, listened to the hum of traffic unseen below and the helicopter across the sky. I saw with a tiny leap in my heart the beautiful purple orchids that have burst into bloom in my tree and took it as an omen.

The orchids belonged to my grandparents and I've had them for 12 years. How I have not killed them I am unsure, but they live still and they flower when they want, unaffected by season or care or attention. And somehow always when I need them most, when I need my grandmother's voice in my ear. Sometimes she encourages me. Often she admonishes me. Sometimes she talks about something completely unrelated. But I love that she's still there, keeping me sane.

I had a moment last night, in the lamplight with glowing skin and tumbled hair, breathing slightly unsteadily as I moved, of wondering at the sanity of repeating the branches of the external carotid artery in rhythm. Of finding the humour at an inopportune moment and spasming with laughter as I traced the path of the opthalmic branch of the internal carotid artery across Bingley's eyebrow. Leaning forward to kiss his nose as I giggled before arching my back and repeating Superior Thyroid, Ascending Pharyngeal, Lingual, Facial, Occipital, Preauricular, Maxillary, Superficial Temporal as my hair tickled my back.

I am a complete dork, but one who still has her sense of humour. And thanks to a burst of purple cattleyas, a teensy sense of hope as well.

1 comment:

Melissa Mitchell said...

I'm glad Bingley was able to get you to take some time out, even if just a few moments.

And again. You write, and I dreamily wish to write. Like that.

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