NANOWRIMO 2014….day 20…….day 20- a bowling medal awarded in Shanghai to the military wives bNanowrimo day 20- a bowling medal awarded in Shanghai to the military wives bowling club. Circa 1958.


day 20- a bowling medal awarded in Shanghai to the military wives ten  pin bowling team.

The big drawer in the pine dresser is where the lost and found objects finally come to rest, it’s the last port of call, the final desperate search, hands moving crab like through the detritus of decades, too scared to actually look because that will mean an admission that the lost thing is actually, in fact, truly lost.

Those frantic searches are the worst, they are one step away from despair, an act undertaken only to delay the inevitable admission that the passport, the spare car key, the only charger that fits the only phone that her aged aunt will or even can use is lost and normally those searches end with the searchee slumped over the table, forehead pressed against a wood knot, leaving behind a a skin tattoo of shame and loss and emptiness.

But, there are other searches, far more pleasurable, having the flavour of treasure hunts, hide and seek and sun blackened maps showing exactly where X marks the spot.

These searches often happen on wet days, cold days and most memorably on those stolen, bonus ball, can’t be legislated for….snow days.
Snow days when even the quality of the light is different, when sounds are muffled and there is a strange public sense to the day, families out in open spaces at other times, out of routine and rhythm, conversations, glances, shared snacks and hot drinks at least while the snow falls.

And after the outside, there is hot chocolate and dripping wellies and mittens drying on radiators and then the treasure cupboard, the magic drawer has its place and time.

She can remember warm chubby hands reaching inside the deep drawers and pulling out items that she cannot remember or even imagine her having placed there, is not even actually convinced that anyone in the family has ever put them there.

There seems to be sentient life within the piece of furniture, she can almost imagine it sucking in random objects from the ether or perhaps becoming a lost luggage place for all those things that don’t have a proper home, a place to call their own and are doomed to wander from bus stop to cupboard under the stairs to over full recycling boxes or to tiny cramped corners in the back of pantries.

But today is not a a snow day, just a non magical grey November day, too early for dragging out the Christmas tree, far too late to,light the candles in the pumpkin head.
The girls, in a rare spirit of togetherness have gone shopping, allegedly Christmas gift shopping, but, she knows from past experience, they will instead buy more clothes they don’t need and will, as usual, come to her in the last week before the holidays, plead poverty and ask her, yet again, to pay for the Christmas presents that they will wrap, admittedly beautifully and place under the tree.

She is getting better at weekends, rarely if ever crawls back to bed or hides under a duvet on the sofa. Organisation, she has discovered, is the key, pre-planning, making arrangements, having a to-do list are the weapons against misery and bone aching sadness.

So, on Friday evenings, she makes a weekend list, something social, something pampering or fun and at least one time consuming and useful household task.
This weekend her list read
Fri pm – book group – take olives and feta cheese
Sat am- hair cut and colour 12.30 meet Harriet and Suzie for lunch
Sun am – plant out spring bulbs
Sun afternoon – clean out the flotsam and jetsam drawers.

Which is why, having happily put red splashy ticks against the shopping list of busy making, she makes a giant sized cup of tea, has a guilt free raid of the biscuit tin and settles down to finally, properly sort out the drawers of stuff.

The big drawer in the pine dresser is where the lost and found objects finally come to rest, it’s the last port of call, the final desperate search, hands moving crab like through the detritus of decades, too scared to actually look because that will mean an admission that the lost thing is actually, in fact, truly lost.

Those frantic searches are the worst, they are one step away from despair, an act undertaken only to delay the inevitable admission that the passport, the spare car key, the only charger that fits the only phone that her aged aunt will or even can use is lost and normally those searches end with the searchee slumped over the table, forehead pressed against a wood knot, leaving behind a a skin tattoo of shame and loss and emptiness.

But, there are other searches, far more pleasurable, having the flavour of treasure hunts, hide and seek and sun blackened maps showing exactly where X marks the spot.

These searches often happen on wet days, cold days and most memorably on those stolen, bonus ball, can’t be legislated for….snow days.
Snow days when even the quality of the light is different, when sounds are muffled and there is a strange public sense to the day, families out in open spaces at other times, out of routine and rhythm, conversations, glances, shared snacks and hot drinks at least while the snow falls.

And after the outside, there is hot chocolate and dripping wellies and mittens drying on radiators and then the treasure cupboard, the magic drawer has its place and time.

She can remember warm chubby hands reaching inside the deep drawers and pulling out items that she cannot remember or even imagine her having placed there, is not even actually convinced that anyone in the family has ever put them there.

There seems to be sentient life within the piece of furniture, she can almost imagine it sucking in random objects from the ether or perhaps becoming a lost luggage place for all those things that don’t have a proper home, a place to call their own and are doomed to wander from bus stop to cupboard under the stairs to over full recycling boxes or to tiny cramped corners in the back of pantries.

But today is not a a snow day, just a non magical grey November day, too early for dragging out the Christmas tree, far too late to,light the candles in the pumpkin head.
The girls, in a rare spirit of togetherness have gone shopping, allegedly Christmas gift shopping, but, she knows from past experience, they will instead buy more clothes they don’t need and will, as usual, come to her in the last week before the holidays, plead poverty and ask her, yet again, to pay for the Christmas presents that they will wrap, admittedly beautifully and place under the tree.

She is getting better at weekends, rarely if ever crawls back to bed or hides under a duvet on the sofa. Organisation, she has discovered, is the key, pre-planning, making arrangements, having a to-do list are the weapons against misery and bone aching sadness.

So, on Friday evenings, she makes a weekend list, something social, something pampering or fun and at least one time consuming and useful household task.
This weekend her list read
Fri pm – book group – take olives and feta cheese
Sat am- hair cut and colour 12.30 meet Harriet and Suzie for lunch
Sun am – plant out spring bulbs
Sun afternoon – clean out the flotsam and jetsam drawers.

Which is why, having happily put red splashy ticks against the shopping list of busy making, she makes a giant sized cup of tea, has a guilt free raid of the biscuit tin and settles down to finally, properly sort out the drawers of stuff.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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