Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Nostalgia

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Granny in cold London dreams of her past, of the open common on the top of a hill near her old home. She takes the path up there she always used to take, but found it had been built up; that there were shops along the driveway to her house; all of them there so long that they were already half in ruins. She wakes up melancholy, mourning her childhood, her dead parents, all those past places not seen in how many years. She hauls herself out of bed, goes into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee to cheer herself up.

Then this; she opens the cupboard to get out a cup. At the top of it stand two frail-looking glasses with a machine-cut pattern on them -a very thirties design, the remains of a wedding present to her parents. There was a whole set of them once, champagne glasses, sherry glasses, wine glasses, the lot, mostly broken, long ago. In the next cupboard sit two hexagonal blue and white plates with gold edges - very art deco: another wedding-present, equally up to date for its time. Granny's parents - her mother at least - were, evidently, escaping the Victorian taste with which both had been brought up. Granny never saw her parents as up to date exactly, but evidently they were, for their time, or saw themselves that way. Now their stuff not only looks dated , it fills her too with a sense of loss; such glasses, such plates appeared from her mother's cupboards, throughout her childhood - from that time gone for ever and yet still, here, disturbingly familiar.

More past: in one of the cupboards, close to the glasses stands a sturdy brown mug which came from Granny's second husband - quite possibly it was the very mug out of which she drank the first cup of coffee he ever gave her, after their very first night together. (Something she also remembers well.) Next to it are two Habitat mugs he and she bought in the course of their marriage. In the saucepan cupboard on the other side of the kitchen are two saucepans which were wedding presents to her and her now dead first husband, father of her children.

This layering of time on time, these strata of family and kitchen archaeology are both touching and sad: she can only reach such times now through objects, through memory - she wishes she could run back to again, just for a moment, even to the times she run away from, - and not just through holding the curve of handles, the bowl of a glass, the weight of cast-iron saucepan lids. She feels so sad that all are gone, gone, gone like too many of the people.

There were pigeons courting on the balcony as she sat, drinking her coffee (and yes, thanks, it did help assuage her melancholy a little.) The male pigeon puffed up its neck feathers, teetered to and fro in as much of a dance as it could manage on a narrow ledge. The female, mostly, played hard to get, turning her head from time to time. Twice she let her suitor get close; put her beak into his beak as if she was feeding him. In the end she flew away; he followed after a little while. Granny does not know if the courtship ended successfully; she could not see them any more. She did notice, though, that the pair looked very alike - mostly black pigeons with purple necks. When she looked up their courtship on the internet she discovered that pigeons do tend to choose mates that look just like themselves.

Interesting that. She doesn't think the same thing applies to humans . Her parents' mutual attraction did not mean they looked like each other, even if it did garner china and glass when they got married. Granny certainly did not look like either of her husbands either. Nor does her Beloved resemble her the slightest, not in any respect. Interesting that.

0 Old comments:

<< Home

Click Here