It’s been a busy few weeks, work- home- family-wise. Not done a serious stroke of OU for three weeks so that makes six weeks behind, with two assignments due next week.
Have attended two tutorials though. First Language dayschool was good. The tutor looks far too diminutive in her avatar, but is much more authoritative in real life. She gave us a good overview of the course and what she expects from our assignments. It was a nice group, and apart from when the stunning Asian Russell-Brand-Doppelganger lady was speaking and I drifted to imagine her watching videos of him and synching hand movements, I think I acquitted myself fair to middling.
Then last week we went for a few days away with my brother, a sometimes bizarre experience. Like when I asked what we were having for lunch. Two pairs of eyes shot towards me and skidded to a stop aimed at my very soul.
“We don’t say that word”, said my sister-in-law, jerking her head towards my brother, who was shaking.
Brother: It’s dinner.
Me: But it’s lunchtime isn’t it? I mean, the only person who says dinnertime is the big bad wolf, right?
Brother: (reaching out for wife’s hand) It’s dinnertime.
Me: OK… what are we having for dinner then?
Brother: Don’t make a fuss about it.
Me: I’m not making a fuss, but I’d like to know what you fancy for dinner. Sandwiches?
Sister-in-law: (with a tolerant smile) It’s just his thing. Isn’t it lovey?
Brother: And you say the word just like Mum.
Pause. Intake of breathes all round. Swords drawn.
Me: Would you like soup for lunch?
Despite being Welsh, my sister-in-law is lovely, but she’s a mental health worker and seems to have taken our family on as part of her caseload. I found myself being CBT-ed while making the sandwiches.
“Tell me, Rachel”, she crooned reassuringly, “what would happen if the cucumber slices weren’t spread exactly evenly over the ham?”
Oh, it was a nice break really. Then came home and discovered that my daughter had been hosting parties at the house of her father, who is off looking for himself in the placid waters of the Maldives. The sort of parties that over-fill two bins and where you have to chuck away hair clippers because they’re stuck up with pubes.
The next day was the Creative Writing tutorial. It was good to catch up with tutor and the group but I think I was borderline hysterical; all I remember is me as baby bird, constant meaningless squawking. Ah me. Maybe I should give sister-in-law a ring.
Walking to work today up a long hill beside dual carriageways; in the distance a man walks backwards.
I was late, he was slow; I gained on him.
He had handsome almond eyes – hollow as a cyborg’s – that shifted restlessly around, and when his head turned to check his trajectory, I noticed grey in the dark curls falling from where they were gathered by a scarlet Royal Mail rubber band.
He was taking notes, scribbling feverishly in a reporter’s notepad. It made sense now.
‘Hurry up’ I said as I passed.
‘Cut off is today’, I whispered to his back.
My second assignment is submitted and I am SO GLAD.
My wrapping-the-fecking-presents song:
I don’t do the dancing, but I do shriek along.
Wishing you all a buoyant festive season.