Thursday, April 17, 2008


1993 (from my journal)

Sitting by myself, wearing white leggings and big T-shirt; bare feet up on the opposite seat, boots under the table, and a pile of library books. I’m watching a man with dark hairy arms. He has a pinky ring on his left hand, and a sturdy beard buried in The Scotsman. Long hairs seep out of the neck of his cotton shirt. I wonder about his hands, how the long fingers would feel on my neck, tangled in my hair. Men like women with long hair. The glint of gold on his collar bone brings me to my senses; I can’t bear a man in chains. A child is grizzling further up the carriage; please let them get off at Berwick.

Farmers are out hosing their fields. Still in the flat countryside of England, windbreaks of young trees laze in the beating sun, fields of rape-seed turn the landscape into a painting with pylons etched between long looping power lines like suspension bridges. Our table is littered with Yorkie bars, plastic glasses and orangeade. We were lucky; the train was empty – I’d forgotten to book seats and had been worried, but soothed with the idea of us all in separate carriages. TocToc, Musician and Amazon spread themselves out around the car but are now sitting together playing cards.

We have become civilized travellers. I used to be the mad woman on a train, screaming at my children under my breath, between my teeth and kicking their feet under the table. It was a case of, ‘Sit there, be quiet, give him that, leave her alone, don’t say things like that, look at the sheep, there’s the seaside, don’t, you’re the oldest, don’t talk to him then, play cards, shut up, leave me alone, give him some paper, see the mist rolling in, no you can’t, just because, shut up and sit down, Jesus Christ, you’re disgusting, blow your nose, I don’t know, another hour, watch my coffee, WILL YOU GIVE HER SOME PAPER!'


Marla D said...

He he..brilliant as always Irene! I just threaten to throw all my kids favourite things in the bin if they misbehave in public..touch wood..
I've done the list..and toned it down..and it's still huge..great exercise though, so thanks muchly..
Are you going to Knochengorrach (sp?) x

ireneintheworld said...

oh i was a terrible mother! i'm better now that they're all grown up, though not much.

glad about the list. it's fun isn't it? and if you're anything like me it just keeps growing!

what's knochengorrach? must be something for the young. x