It is 21:58 and all around me I am surrounded by chaos. Boxes that contain my life, my loves, my infinite passion for vintage dresses and bombastic patterns, trinkets that sit somewhere between sacred relics and culturally appropriated junk and the thousands of books and journals I am perpetually on the verge of starting, finishing, rereading, repurposing into something useful. I am always one word away from genesis, genius.
Lush’s R&B hair cream rolls from bag to desk leg; the silver sequined slippers that are by far the thing I missed most in lockdown are flopped like rabbit’s ears in the pyre of impetuosity building ominously at the end of my bed; a million sunglasses that are never the pair I want scatter themselves into the unlikeliest of places, forever in the way until the moment I need them.
I suppose I should clean.
I have walked home from the cove where we barbecued and drank beers as the sun buried itself into the shoulder of the cliff. Lethargic with hayfever I chose the march through the thickets, the time with the setting sun and birdsong, the evening quiet to admire the thud of my newly-tanned calves on roads still sticky with the molten tarmac of Irish summer.
I lost my eyes and ears and throat and nose to hayfever today. Patience, too. I’d forgotten the all-consuming agitation of it; the irritability that turns me into one convulsing nostril, writhing indoors at the injustice of it all, the complete inconsideration of the natural world. I dunked myself into salt water and hoped it would soothe me. I fell asleep in the sun and woke like one drugged and abandoned on a desert island. I dunked again.
I have taken to walking the back roads in spaghetti-strapped bikini tops and skimpy active wear. I refuse to pull anything down or up when I see a car approaching. It gives me a delicious thrill to see the slope of me unphased by the judgement of eyes other than my own.
I ate too many breadrolls, as I tend to do. I knew I didn’t need the second sausage sandwich but ate it anyway. I washed it down with potato salad and beer and decided I didn’t care. What is a bank holiday without decadence?
Tonight, loaded with anti-histamines and a nose raw from blowing, I will have an underwater sleep – the kind where you wake up feeling like you’ve been wading through a swamp or walking in the nether regions of the ocean. Where greeting a new day is like emerging from the depths having held your breath for too long – you are groggy and disoriented, eyes small from the effort, brain clogged with the pressure. Tomorrow, I will unpack my life and repack it again. I will remember the skills of categorising, prioritising, labelling, organising, multitasking. I will.
Summer always has a sense of an ending for me, a quiet melancholy even as it bursts with beginnings and possibilities. I feel every moment grows more intangible, the bliss of hot sun on glowing skin, cold beer on parched throats, the thrill of cold icecream on burnt lips – all of it seems so fleeting, too perfect to be lasting. It is one long, continuous sunset. It leaves you bereft while craving more.
Goodness, it feels like a lifetime since I shared tree tings bringing me joy in quarantine! Thankfully, life is filled with fodder for this one…
- Pink Icing. It was my sister’s birthday over the weekend and I was in charge of icing. It was a self-appointed role but I was determined to make the best of it and so pink icing was chosen. Not content with the one suggested hue, I made two kinds – a hot pink masterpiece and a lighter pastel shade the exact colour of Molly Ringwald’s prom dress in Pretty in Pink – and I’m not sure anything has brought me so much joy. There were rosettes and butterflies: my life’s work is complete.
- Videoclub. A French duo, they are the perfect summer soundtrack, conjuring all of the psychedelic loveliness of young love. Listen to En Nuit and Amours Plastiques – trust me.
- Golf. A card game taught to us by our younger sister, this game that is sort of strategy/luck/guesswork is our new addiction. We will probably play it every night for two weeks and then, six weeks from now, will swear we’ve never even heard of it and ask to be taught all of the rules again. We have suspicions it would make for a great drinking game but this has yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned.