Let’s Call Him ‘P’ submitted by Anne David
But, I’m Fiona Stoughton and all I can do is create imaginary things. And, those things can’t be mechanical either because I’m not interested in mechanical things (unless they break down, like my washing machine) nor do I have the mental capacity to dream them up. It’s just not on the cards.
Here’s what I DO like to create though: people.
I like to imagine people doing things give happiness. That make others feel good.
Here’s a current example. In fact, it’s an example that I can’t get out of my head right now because I think I may be in adore. When is it adore and when is it obsession, or are they the same thing? It can happen, I believe. Maybe it’s happened to me because I’m on a faster trajectory. This happens when you get older. Time feels like it’s more condensed so three months at fifty years of age (which is what I am) could be equivalent to one year at maybe thirty years of age. And falling in adore after one year of getting to know someone is highly probable at any age. Almost predictable, in fact.
So, back to my example.
Here is what I imagine happening. Someone, let’s call him ‘P’, decides that he feels a little more than ambivalent towards me. With this in mind, let’s move into the present tense, first person to really get into the swing.
I walk along a pathway in a field. I don’t know where the path is heading, but I can see a stile in the distance and I know I’m not far from the nearest village so I will be safe. It’s midday. It’s summer. There is a very light breeze, just strong enough to cool my skin and reduce the heat of the sun. The tips of my shoulders are turning red but I’m not worried because I’m going to end this walk soon. I know because P has given me a map of the pathway and I know he wouldn’t make me walk in the sun like this for long.
I feel comfortable like there will be no surprises. When I think of P I can an inexplicably warm feeling like a baby probably gets when it’s swaddled. All cacooned and wrapped. Like something is just right.
As I pass over small rocks protruding from the ground here and there, I think of P and ponder the little clues that I’ve been given over the recent weeks. Stories about himself. Crammed into the subway in Paris. Busking in the streets. Explaining the rarity of seeing a cobra on the patio that day in Zambia. Playing cricket on the road. Discovering life in the river by the house. Carving out a different way of life and sustaining it for years. Showing others that it can be done. Teaching. Teaching all sorts of things in and outside of the classroom. Laughter. Always lots of laughter. No one really knows about his ruminations that take place in the background. That’s no one’s business.
I see blue-grey eyes that shimmer with life and expectancy. Intelligent eyes that say everything when they evade directness. Directness is not good for this particular wolf.
For all this confusion, these tatters of fabric that aren’t big enough to make a small blanket, I sense there is enough to cover me up. Enough to snuggle under.
I get to the stile at last and climb over it.
In front of me, like a painting by Gainsborough, is a large oak tree under a cloudless sky with a herd of cows in the foreground. On seeing me, the cows slowly, unremarkably turn around to move out of the way. Only then do I see P. He is sitting under the three and he doesn’t see me at first. He notices me when the cows shift. I can just about make out his smile because he’s just a little too far.
He stands up now and puts his hands on his hips. His hair ruffles in the breeze. I am happy. Truly happy.
Like when I got my first bike, I feel heady with it. Elation. Relief. Excitement. Familiarity.
As I walk towards him I feel the ‘rightness’ again.
P puts his hands out for me, to reach this new place
He grip, his hug, his energy, his calmness; it all matters. It all gets noticed. It all gets into the memory
He laughs self-consciously. He says ‘it’s lovely to see you again.’