28 January 2015

Seven love letters

The weather changes so quickly in January. Suddenly, the sun is shining. Last night, I came home and I sat on the stoop of the house on Victoria Rd and smoked my pipe without a coat. It stopped raining after it started, and you could remember the world in Birmingham as it is in the spring. It will snow again, sure, but the spring is coming.

Last week, it was Yoko's birthday, and we packed up the family — the kids and wife and guineas — went south to Cardiff. I drove, like I always do, and had my mobile phone out waiting for a call about the promotion round interview that never came. Instead, we made our way out to Ogmore, on a glorious day. Ogmore, where a river I didn't catch the name of flows into the sea and the girls took their shoes and socks off and ran around in the sand, despite it being so cold.

At one point, the girls, Mei and Mia, needed to go to the toilet and I picked them both up, and started walking briskly across the rocks back towards the car park. They were both laughing and I was confidently making long strides until suddenly, expectedly, I slipped and fell forward. Mei landed well, but Mia fell hard on her tailbone and head, and I caught myself on my knee. Mia started crying hard, and Yoko came running up from the beach. I was apologising to them like it mattered, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, silly daddy' and we checked them both for cuts and bruises. Mia didn't stop crying, but I held Mei's hand and held Mia and continued on towards the car park and the toilet in the brilliant sun. Silly daddy, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

The year so far has felt like gaining weight and I had missed the January depression that usually comes, except in the last three years when things have been too busy to be depressed and cold. This month is gone now; my hairline is receding and I am again the fat man in the gym, fighting against myself: I am a stone wanting to roll down the hill. I am dirty, and bent over, and brooding. The girls all sequester themselves upstairs at bedtime, and I kiss them all goodnight, but stay downstairs, away from whatever is happening.

Now, it is the final days of the month though, and the grass outside my window is green. Sure it will snow in February, but it's a short month.