Daily Archives: September 14, 2015

Can love conquer all?

It has rained all day and is raining still. Looking out of the window I see little sign of it letting up. This evening, as I was eating dinner, my buzzer rang. When I pressed the intercom to ask who was there, I heard the voice of my troubled daughter. She asked me if she could come in and maybe stay the night. I turned her away. She didn’t protest.

She is banned from entering this block of flats, just as she is banned from several other places, but she knows that if I wished to, I could let her in through the back door, and unless she had another drug-fuelled psychotic episode while she was here, nobody would be any the wiser.

She may have nowhere to stay tonight. There are few people left who feel able to tolerate her, and the two or three who do are in a similar condition to her, although I only know of one other who clearly drags the shadow of death wherever he goes.

I returned to the carefully prepared meal that I had been enjoying, and hastily shovelled forkfuls into my mouth, chewing a little and swallowing without pleasure. The food had lost its savour and I no longer wanted it, but I was taught to eat every scrap, so that is what I did.

Although I wanted to curl up in a corner and scream, I forced myself to carry on composing my day six assignment for WordPress Writing 101. I could sense Laura sitting outside on a bench below me, just out of eyesight, with the rain soaking into her woven summer jacket. I reminded myself, over and over, that I must not go to her. Her only chance – though it’s a slim one – lies in me refusing admittance, and discouraging contact. If I stay strong she may choose to go into recovery. I may be the one thing she is not prepared to lose to her multiple drug habit. Her organs are shutting down, and if she doesn’t stop using she is unlikely to live much longer. Having regular contact with me makes her habit worse. She has a need to prove to me what a mess she is, and the more she sees me, the more drugs she consumes.

I keep my curtains open all evening. I live on the top floor, so people have to look up to see in my window, and, should they do so, they will see little more than ceiling. After about forty minutes I sensed movement outside. I looked down, and saw my daughter walking away. My leg muscles twitched in an effort to rebel against my brain, which told me not to chase after her. My brain won. These days it usually does.

I watched the rain and I wondered – not for the first time – whether that brief glimpse of her, as she turned and glanced my way, was the last time I will ever see her alive. It was dark, and I couldn’t see the only beautiful feature that she has retained, her hazel eyes.

The last time I looked into those eyes I reminded her that it was her choice to live or to die, and told her that, should she die, I would like her to know that I love her very much. I would like that comforting thought to be with her when she takes her last breath and finally steps into eternal peace.

I think I have reached beyond fear, but I am very sad and lost tonight, and I wonder, can love conquer all?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Dehydration

Today at WordPress Writing 101, we are asked to compose a post on where we write. I had difficulty with this one, as I have covered the subject recently. I struggled, but finally came up with this:

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inspired words and phrases leave no space in my brain
I need to get them written
they roll and they dip while I’m rushing to the shop
even as I’m walking I can feel them slipping
into the quicksilver pit of thoughts unwritten
and though I risk being late I slow down to scribble
emptying the contents of my head on a page
where unfinished and frayed they wait patiently
’til the end of the day
when I can gather them in and
drop them in my laptop office suite
sift, arrange and add to them to make them neat

the evening is here and I faithfully record
every written word and each remembered thought
tapping at my keyboard while my dinner’s in the oven
then I munch at my desk in slovenly oblivion
while my concentration’s held by a comment on my blog
and as I process a response something clicks in my brain
and I begin cogitating
on a new idea that my mind is creating

I’d like a cup of tea, but I don’t have the time
I’d like a short rest but I may lose the rhyme

back in open office I try to feed my words
into the machine at the speed of my thoughts
if I don’t catch them quickly they’ll fall out of reach
but I’m tripping over errors, dipping back, correcting
‘cos I don’t possess the self control to leave them be
after a while my ideation slows it’s pace
giving me a chance to relax and ruminate
on alternative words that feel more appropriate

I’d like a cup of tea, but I don’t have the time
I’d like a short rest but I may lose the rhyme

I read and re-read, switch and re-arrange
I copy and paste my poem to my post page
at Pixabay I pick an image; click to save

I’d like a cup of tea, but I don’t have the time
I’d like a short rest but I may lose the rhyme

I tickle and tweak the image on my funky photo editor
embed the finished effort, then pick my tags

I’d like a cup of tea, but I don’t have the time
I’d like a short rest but I may lose the rhyme

I click preview: I scrutinize and edit
preview, edit, preview, edit, preview again
eventually I’m satisfied, and my work hits the net

I put the kettle on for tea, and wander back trough
to check on my comments and respond to a few

the kettle in the kitchen is no longer boiling
I haven’t yet transformed the notes I wrote this morning
into a poem. I am thirsty but contented
at another set of thoughts so cleanly vented

I re-boil the kettle and make that cup of tea
and chase it with water as I’m still thirsty

I’ll leave the ragged words that I wrote this morning
until a day when I lack inspiration
because my head is stuffed with an idea for a poem
about escaping cups of tea and dehydration

©Jane Paterson Basil