Ernest Loves His Music Box3:59 pm
Twenty one years ago almost to the day I moved up north and started college in a town I'd only heard of a week earlier. I thought Stockport might be by the sea, but checking on the map told me otherwise.
My first day at college and the first person I met was Jo. I'd started the course later than everyone else, friendships had already been formed, and everyone was already working on their first project.
Jo nervously showed me her sketchbook and talked me through the brief to design blown vinyl wallpaper. I think at that point we both wondered what the hell we were doing at art college designing something so bloody awful.
I knew immediately that Jo and I were going to be friends forever.
Jo, now lives far far away, I only see her, her hubby and her gorgeous little girl once a year, and this year she got to meet Ernest. This music box was a gift from Jo, and Ernest loves it.
Ernest and I are very popular lately. We have visitors most days. I think everyone is just so relieved he's here safe. I guess things will settle down soon. At least having lots of visitors stops me just sitting and thinking...not that Ernest gives me huge amounts of thinking time. Sometimes, even the "dead baby dead baby dead baby" monologue stops for a while when I'm having tea with friends, sometimes the "failed breastfeeding" monolgue briefly pushes out the "dead baby " one.
I'm running out of words lately. I have so much to say,but I can't form any of my thoughts into anything coherant. No words I can conjure up seem to do Florence or Ernest, or my parenting of them both alongside the big ones any justice.
There is a lady who lives on my road , we would say good morning when she walked her dog and I walked the children to school. Last year shortly after Florence was born, I was leaving the house and she shouted over to ask about the baby. I had to tell her Florence had died.She went quiet and said "it happened to me". I could see she was very upset.
Later that day she brought me a huge bunch of sunflowers and told me I could talk to her any time. Her first daughter died 22 years ago.
I saw her the other day, and she admired Ernest. She said "it does make it easier doesn't it?" and I thought for a moment. It does, of course it does. It would be so much worse without him,but I miss her, I ache for her.
And really, that might be all there is to be said.