I am tidy.
I bet I am the only person you know who used to enter her place of work (radio newsroom) and clear up before she began to work – taking the dirty dishes back to the canteen, wrapping to discard leftover food, stacking old newspapers, press releases and other written material for which there was a pile – excuse me, a mountain. I can’t think in a mess.
So if you saw my flat now you’d know, something is up …
There are clean clothes everywhere, an open suitcase in the office and a bag beside it I am trying not to fill. And the shirt I bought when I was channelling Michelle Obama doesn’t iron well and the air is full of muttered curses and starch …
Listen, I am going on holiday for the first time in some years, to a Greek island I haven’t been to. With a friend. A gay friend.
I can’t write in advance, though I may well tell stories afterwards.
It is, as they say, an interesting time to be going to Greece.
I have invested in makeup I have never heard of. Two lots of samples later I was sufficiently impressed to invest in a travel kit. Watch this space. Last time I went away with Wal I had my upper lip threaded and looked like a Dalmation with hives i.e pink and lumpy.
Wal is spoken for and I am out of circulation. So, thank heaven, he won’t care about me in a swimsuit. Perhaps you remember Suddenly Last Summer in which the lovely young woman (E Taylor) encourages the young men of the resort so that her cousin (M Clift at his most tormented and sexually convoluted) can drool and pick?
This is exactly the opposite.
In my mind’s eye I see myself drifting down the terrace …who am I kidding?
Drifting is for less earthbound creatures than I.
In my mind’s eye and aided by a lifetime’s exposure to the camera, I see myself posed, hair just so, clothes just so – it all comes of a lifetime of believing that if you could think like a model, you could look like one and I now know I cannot.
I laughed aloud when I looked for a picture of dugong, a weirdly appealing sea mammal widely supposed to have inspired the legend of the mermaid. The first one I found had the same name as a long ago much loved Israeli boyfriend.
So this little effort is larded with every kind of swimwear (except me in mine or Wal in his) and the hope that you will come back and see me next week, telling me and showing me stories of you and holidays, silly happy memories from buckets and spades on up.
I know it is said that “a week is a long time in politics” but you and I both know that time is elastic.
If you are unhappy, it may be fast and sharp like the cut of a knife, or it may drag on forever till you think that the tunnel you’re trapped in has no end.
Or you may be so happy that the golden days string out like bubbles light and multicoloured into a future you can’t imagine. Or you may have just a moment of
pure and beautiful joy.
A week may be a long time and it may be the blink of an eye.