my friend is coming over today that’s nice isn’t that nice?
she’s a therapist specialising in obsessive compulsive disorder how interesting
i should probably just clean around a bit before she arrives
everyone does that, right? i mean everyone when somebody is coming over has a bit of a manic clean beforehand right?
and i’ve been doing so much better lately last week i took six sips of the orange juice instead of seven even though three and seven are the best numbers followed by thirteen and fourteen and then all the multiples of seven well, not all of them not twenty-eight, for example that is a bad number
but i have been doing so much better so it won’t matter if i just clean up a little bit first.
i will put on my motivational playlist whoops the song didn’t start quite right oh dear i was distracted and i missed the opening line two more times i’ll start it once more but it didn’t go back right to the start, so i have to restart it a fourth time but then no four is not a good number, and i’m allowed a bit of indulgence today, so five six seven and now the song has started and i can wash up
but what if she arrives and realises that i’m not really obsessive but just pretending? what if she looks down the side of the oven and sees the mass of dust which i notice every day and thinks “well i’ve seen much worse than this she must be fine just doing it for attention or something”
what if she goes to the bathroom and looks behind the toilet at that bit i can never quite reach
she will know then that i am a fraud and that i cannot keep my house clean like someone who really cares
but it’ll be fine i’ve been doing so much better and my friend is not a judgemental person.
i will just hoover one more time and before i know it i am down on my knees sweeping the carpet until there are graze marks on the sides of my hands to make sure i get up every last bit of dust
and i crawl through the flat picking up the miniscule specks that the hoover managed to miss but that somehow i still see
i’ve been doing so much better though she’ll be here any minute now i’ll just bleach the toilet one more time and the bath and the sink resist the urge to sip it it will not make your insides clean.
i’ve been doing (cough seven times) so much (seven sips of tea) better though
i’ve (clean234567) been (sweep234567) doing (scrub234567) so (hoover234567) much (12346 come on you can do it…) better (7) .
harrowed, its holes fill furrows in the earth and in the distance something cackles
a sound that splits the dawn as the sun breaks over the horizon its giant eye watchful but bleak.
a flamboyance of flamingoes and a ****** of crows rise to the cries of battle on the moor and nature's drums of war beat a tattoo doomed to eternally repeat.
and in the distance something crackles
the sun has turned to fire; a spark lies empty on the hollow ground depleted of breath, it fades to ember but then but then
something startles it awake the smallest of stirrings for that is all it needs and out of the crumbling darkness the spark hurls itself setting alight the expanse around it and in the distance something burns.
there is still a person smiling at a stranger in the street still the trees of summer wafting in the breeze still the light of a warm golden evening slanting through the park still dust motes dancing in its wake there is still
there is still the look on a child's face when it sees its first bubble pop still the warmth of a fire, smell smoke and sound of crackling wood still the feeling when cold, you get in a hot bath and your legs rejoice in the numb there is still
there is still the joy of reading a passage and thinking "yes! this is me!" still the tight hug of a friend you haven't seen in a while still the first glimpse of an unexplored landscape from a plane window there is still
there is still the pure lineny smell of the first ****** snow in winter still the satisfying crunch of an autumn leaf under your shoe still the gritty scratching of sand between toes on the beach still the haunting melancholy howl of a wolf in the distance there is still
there is still the way your favourite person looks at you when you walk into a room still the beautiful moment of pregnant silence that hangs at the end of a sonata still the feeling of diving dry into a lake and coming up wet and free there is still
there is still, and yet that's it really, isn't it?
there is stillness when the world creeps off and you are left alone with stark reality in the lamplight and then in the silent dark there is still
there is still, and you sit motionless in it and the world continues around you but you have retreated and as it all falls away a voice within you screams a silent plea and there is still.