Yesterday we had two viewings. I spent the morning clearing the mess and cleaning. This meant putting away a basket of washing, mainly by putting my clothes where they go and piling Tom’s washing, his jumpers, his belts all into the bottom of his wardrobe. To be fair, I put his socks away. The rest, well, I take the newspapers and the books and the stray socks and throw them into cupboards and chests. We will never find some of these things again, I’m sure. I always put fresh tulips in two vases – one on the stairs, one in the kitchen.
I’d bought Flash with Bleach, so spent a good half hour on my knees, spraying, scrubbing and wiping away dried on Bird poo – the cockatiel sits on top of doors. He is the 19 year old’s cockatiel, and since she’s been away to university, I have tried to be kind, loving even, but he is now semi-wild, though he still whistles the Archers theme tune at 7pm. He’s a creature of habit.
I put the dogs in the car, drove to Stroud, spent an hour wandering around buying Mother’s Day gifts and sending them off in a post office box. I took another hour and a half to walk home with the dogs, long enough for two viewings to happen. I ate an egg for breakfast and some almonds, so with a heavy coat and sudden sunshine on my back, and a heavy backpack of shopping, I was exhausted. I began to resent the people who came to view the house, but also hoped for miracles. They’ll fall in love with it, and they’ll buy it. Full price. No questions asked. And then my life can begin elsewhere, in Oxford, where everything awaits me.
There were no feedback cards when I got back. Nothing but a bird squawking. I made a giant hummus, Halloumi and carrot flatbread sandwich and lay on the sofa with a flask of tea and watched the first ever episode of Morse. Whenever there were crowd scenes, I paused it, went slow – we lived in Oxford in 1987. I want to see Tom and I holding hands, walking in our place. Though I wouldn’t recognise us – we were both two stone lighter.
I often think this manifestation of myself is a ghost of me, dreaming, colourless, while the Ro who lives in the pasture of Oxford is green with the reflection of it, floating above, ready to hold out her hand to pull me into the dream of my new life.
The floor was unfeasibly clean. I could have eaten my sandwich off it.