The dishes need to be washed.
The laundry, washed and dried.
The mail needs to be retrieved, opened, assessed, and – invariably – thrown away.
An email needs to be sent to a to a relative, to a friend.
An order cancelled, an order made.
The accounts need to be checked and adjusted and checked again, with as little disappointment as possible.
The carpet needs to be vacuumed.
The shelves need to be dusted.
A batch of cookies need to be made for no other reason than that the decision was made earlier in the week. They serve no real purpose.
And the dishes will need to be washed again.
The homespun pedicure needs to be touched up, though the open toe shoes are almost never worn. Especially this time of year.
The laundry needs be folded.
The houseplants need to be watered. One needs to be replanted, lest its roots be left to strangle. Eventually.
That spot on the floor will need to be vacuumed again.
The laundry needs to be put away.
The bathroom needs to be scrubbed.
Things need to be accomplished.
And somewhere in there, somewhere in the madness of the list, there needs to be time.
There needs to be time for her to think and create. Time to absorb and exude all that the list is meant to enhance. Or facilitate.
And yet, all the time there is is readily eaten by the list.
Realizing this, she struck a match.
And burnt it.
Two women, wine, and a chat about relationships.
Written, Directed, and Produced by C.L. Manion (clmanion.wordpress.com)
Filmed and Edited by Yasir A.
Assistant Director – Kathleen McCarthy (@Kathleen_McC)
Music by Kevin MacLeod
The quiet moments underneath
The morning light on sleeping streets
Between the walls of cheaply rented rooms
When I am preparing
All the things I mean to do
And you are in the bedroom
Or else sitting in a chair
A million miles away in thought
And I, the same the other way
Just like goldfish
In a second story bowl
We glide past one another
Unobtrusive or unspeaking
Swimming little rings around our rooms
We could be strangers if it were not
For our intertwining lives
Like loving vines
Wrapped around each other
To become a single living maze
In these quiet moments
Between the cups of coffee
And sheets of shopping lists
Between the schedules and checkbooks
And all the doings of a day
In the moments
Between the fray
When we neither have to say
In those quiet moments, know
I love you best.
I forgot to buy the coffee
I hope you don’t mind much
Though I don’t feel much like making it
With the cold crept in and such
Did you put away the pizza?
I know I didn’t do it
And television, was it turned off?
It was good but I slept right through it
Good Lord, it’s ten already
No, three quarters after nine
I suppose we should get going soon
But our snoozing suits me fine
If we were perfect, we’d be up already
Or prob’bly ages ago
Getting on with this and that
And herding ducks into a row
We could be much more efficient
With our days all timed and planned
Never stopping for a daydream
Ever minding the running sand
But I prefer that we’re imperfect
In the dim mid-morning glow
As we lay like sleepy figures
I have sharpened twelve different pencils
Tested thirty different pens
Acquired perfect table and a chair
I have chosen carefully a keyboard
Checked its fit and click and feel
Run my hands along the buttons like a map
I have read the many works of others
And the works on works of others
And the works on works on works of them
I have read twelve step instructions
And the thirty step instructions
Outlining numbered hybrids in my head
I have filled the room with candles
Fluffed the pillows on the chair
Stocked the many mugs with coffee, cups with tea
And it’s all a preparation
Superstition or distraction
From the truth that no one ever wants to hear:
The only way to improve the writing
Nina pulled the cord and stood carefully aside, half convinced she would be pummeled by a ladder. The old house was new with unlearned quirks and surely death was lurking around every corner. Or a splinter. Either way. The ladder unfurled and landed gently on the floor.
Paper mask securely in place and dish gloves on, Nina climbed the ladder. The attic was larger than expected, lit by a dim window on either side. Boxes and trunks. Stands littered with old coats like wet leaves. On every surface, enough dust to write your name in. Nina was glad for the mask. At every step, the floorboards wheezed out the layers of settled time.
There was a whole life there, tucked away and forgotten. China dolls, kitchen clutter, papers kept and never needed. Nina poked about at this and that, feeling the intruder to someone else’s treasure. Ali Baba all over again. Withered shoes and chicken wire, a box of hat-pins awaiting long-lost hats. It was all a bit overwhelming.
What on earth am I going to do with all of this? The previous owner had passed away, the family off to other places. By contract, it was hers, the house and contents purchased. The others had washed their hands. And now space was needed for other things. Still, seemed wrong to just throw it away.
Nina sat herself down in an old wood rocking chair to think. The floorboards accompanied the sway. Otherwise silent moments. And all at once the idea hatched. I’ll have a rummage sale.
She looked about, setting prices and staging in her head. The biggest trouble would be getting it all downstairs. But it’s all downhill from there. What’s of interest will find a new home, what’s truly junk will toss. Nina stretched her bones and relaxed into the rocker.
Except this, she thought, this I’ll keep… and maybe that wardrobe… and a coat stand could be awfully useful…
“You shouldn’t have said that.”
“Well now they’re…” Edith huffed, “Well now they’re going to bring up that home again.”
“So they’ll bring up the home again,” Rodger shuffled the stacked dishes over, “They were going to anyway…eventually.”
Edith twisted off the tap and patted down the froth.
“I know but…” she slid a plate into the sink, “You gave them ammunition.”
“I did not,” Rodger protested.
“You told them I get confused sometimes.”
“Well, you do, love.”
“Not that much. Made me sound like a crazy old bat,” Edith scrubbed and rinsed and stacked. Rodger took up a towel.
“You’re not crazy, Edith,” he clinked the dishes away, “Not like that, anyway…But you are…Well, you’re mad as a hatter. ‘S’why I married you.”
“Oh, go on,” Edith fluffed a handful of bubbles at him. A dish and a dish, and a cup and a cup.
“It wouldn’t be so bad, y’know.”
“I don’t want to hear it,” Edith clattered the silverware at the bottom of the sink.
“We’ll need it eventually.”
She pulled the drain.
“Come on now,” Rodger shined the flatware, “I hear they got all sorts of things goin’ on. Classes, socials. Wasn’t it just yesterday you got a letter from, um, Banners-”
“Right. Said they even had a dance last Friday.”
“And that she’s been ill.”
“Think about it.”
“Might be pneumonia.”
“Wouldn’t a dance be fun?” Rodger drew her into a two-step and started singing, “And I seem to find the happiness I seek, when we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.”
“You’re a fool, Rodger,” she laid her head on his shoulder as they swayed, “A perfect fool.”