I’m earlier than yesterday. The sun’s still on the page. Makes it sharply white, so I’m writing on the edge of the shadow of my hand. Moving deeper into shade as the pen crosses the page. I can feel the sun on the back of my neck. Not burning yet. I’ve been paranoid about that one in the past. So many paranoias. Hard to let them go. Hard to find them when you’re in the garden. The sky’s bluer than it’s reasonably possible to be. The breeze not enough to flicker a flame. A train passing. Why worry? Why worry?
A siren sings. This city never sleeps. A cat in the sun. Alert to the breeze. The bee. The skittering leaf. Relaxed. Ready to pounce. Nought to sixty in no time at all. Then back to nought again. A lick of the paw. A wipe of the face. I didn’t mean to catch it anyway. Just practising.
Always practising. We spend our lives practising. Practice makes perfect. How we long to be perfect. I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul. What a delusion. What a snare. Always chasing. Never catching. Licking away at our wounds. We don’t have the cat’s nonchalance. We worry what they think of us. I messed up. I burned the pizza. I didn’t make my husband happy. I never pleased a soul. The cat’s not worried. The moment’s gone. She sleeps.
The roses by the door have shed some petals. Flamingo pink and peach. Now blowsy. Overblown. Janet tends the garden. I told her how lovely it looked last night. Colours rioting. Vying for the eye. All she said was it needs weeding. In another life I listened to a drummer. Perfect. I said. You never missed a beat. He only heard the mistakes. Not the applause. The standing ovation. For a breathtaking performance.
Kind to ourselves we’re not. We grumble. Criticise. Chastise. Nothing’s ever good enough. Practice never quite makes perfect. Then some of us get religion added on. The Great Unpleasable. Demanding. Perfection. Holiness. We have to Get It Right. And if we don’t they’ll slaughter us. On God’s behalf.
How wrong can we get it? How is that good news? Why would we want it to be? If we’re perfect. If God picks us for the team. If we don’t screw up. If we wear proper modest clothing. Cover our hair. Believe the dogma. Obey the pastor. Follow the rules. To the letter. Don’t have sex. Except for procreation. Only if we’re married. And really don’t enjoy it. Submit to our husbands. Parents. In-laws. Regardless of the bruises … Then maybe. Just maybe. If God’s in a good mood. If we catch him on the right day. If we say our prayers. Morning. Noon. And night. Five times a day. Our parents had us Christened. Or Bar Mitzvahed. We might end up with a celestial harp. Instead of everlasting torment. I’m not sure which is worse.
Who’d want to spend eternity kowtowing to a god like that? Albeit one I don’t believe exists. I knew someone used to say man created god in his own image. Thought he was being clever. He did I mean. Not me. He had a point. We take our petty angst. Our bitterness. Our judgement. Condemnation. Greed. Violence. Malice. Venom. Hate. We mix them. Make a monster. Let it take control. After all, we can’t let messy things like love and peace run free. Who knows where that might end?
I’m blogging to raise funds for a charity close to my heart. I’ve given up NOT being a writer for 125 days in support of One25’s work with vulnerable women in Bristol. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you can find out more about what I’m doing by visiting One25’s website at http://www.one25.org.uk/. You can also support them by visiting my fund raising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JeanMutch where you can make a donation and suggest an idea for a short story or a post on the blog. Thank you.