30 September 2011


I went searching for my lover’s only jewel. It is made of a sharp and shiny stone. He wears it around his neck and it catches the light. I went searching in the dark under the apple tree with a torch. I knew the real thing would glint. I lunged at every shine. A chocolate bar wrapper, tin foil, snail trails. This is love I think. But it is not. It is, at first, in part, a game. The tree is shining with snail trails. I do not want him to lose a thing. I continue to search until dinner is called once, twice. I plan to go back when he is at work and search with gloves on. This is love. The cat comes to watch me for a while. I shine the torch at him and his crisp shadow falls on the wall. He leaves, bored.

The evening passes. His housemate finishes reading Jane Eyre two seconds before the movie starts. She will be it’s truest judge.

A woman sings. She says take love as it comes. She seems to mean it. I don’t understand her.

We eat carrots. We are extra nice to each other. I give him the power supply from my laptop. He asks how my knee is, (I had bumped it). We eat dinner at the table for the first time in a long time. He looks up, he wants to know how it is. It is good. It tastes like something he would cook.

After dinner my lover wraps each apple one by one in yesterday’s newspaper. It will stop them from shrivelling. It means if one rots they won’t all rot. It will keep them safe. He harvests with his hood up, his head down. He wraps each apple tight, he warms it in his hands as he wraps. He half reads the news as he goes. He thinks about different kinds of apple pie. He says losing the jewel in the apple tree is too heavy with potential symbolism. He tries not to read it into his life.

His housemate comes home and says the break in her mother’s shoulder is the worst the doctor’d seen in his forty year career. And she did not like Jane Eyre. She smokes angrily and tells us why.

In the morning I am determined. I leave the tea to brew and look at the garden in the sunshine. I try to be systematic in my search. I look deep between the cracks of things under the apple tree. A basket, a tricycle, a bin full of worm juice and mulch. I dislodge worms, spiders and woodlice. They come scuttling out. I stare at the mush of compost and use a stick to rifle through it. I climb the tree and my hair tangles in the branches. I look over the fence and see nothing gleaming. I see apples in all stages of decay, I see one that is completely black and still solid. I wonder what has happened to it. A pair of black knickers has fallen from the line into a wedge of tree. I widen my parameters, I search between the mouldy apples on the concrete, I search in the shallow pit of an old fire, I search in the makeshift structure of broken fences covering the compost, I search even where I know it will not be. The cat in his infinite boredom reminds me to attach no myth to this, reminds me that I am ankle deep in warm, fly covered muck on a beautiful day before I’ve even had my breakfast. My lover finds me searching and tells me to stop. The tea is cold, I stink of hot rubbish. I start the tea again and think about my day.

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