Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Plastic Spoons and a Cat's Name

‘Why spoons?’ my mother wanted to know. I’d come back from the school fete that hot July evening with a bundle of war comics and a bag of plastic spoons. The comics made sense to my mother. The spoons did not.

I left her in the kitchen to ponder the mystery. Beside the bed was a cabinet. I kept my treasures in it. Space was made for the comics. I’d read them that evening until someone noticed that I hadn’t turned my light out. Even then, if there was a chance of it, I’d keep straining my eyes over the fading print until I could see no more.

It was bliss in that room and I’ve often wished that I could travel back in time and read once more by the light of the lamp with the orange shade. It had golden tassels hanging down and there were blue flowers – hydrangeas I think, growing their patterns on the purplish wallpaper. A hideous room of seventies tackiness.

Most nights the old cat would join me on the bed. She’d stand marching on the spot in a state of delirium trying to free her claws from the tangle of threads. It was an endless process and when she really got into it strands of dribble would connect her mouth with the counterpane. She had a strange name – Tuppy, and I never thought to ask why.

There was a grey vent in the room that blew in warm air in the winter time. If you put your ear up to the vent you could hear the house breathing. Better still, you could hear everything that was being said down in the lounge. But, what with Granny being deaf in one ear and Grandad having to shout all the time, you didn’t really need the vent to know what was going on.

Plastic spoons and a cat’s name. Such are the things that keep me awake at night and wondering.

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