Once upon a time there was a little house…
In this little house was a tiny bedroom…
In this tiny bedroom was a small girl…
And this small girl was seated on a massive bed.
I was that girl and the bed was my cloud. I sat there, like an angel with my books open, my toys listening attentively as I filled them in on the exploits of Amelia Jane Again and the folk from the Magic Faraway Tree.
At night, with my thumb in my mouth, I would wrap myself up tightly in the quilt my mum had lovingly covered for me with a pretty floral fabric, my head would sink into a matching covered pillow. The pervasive Dry Musk perfume she wore washed over me, a spiritual reminder of motherly love that would gently lull me to sleep.
Made, with love, by my mum.
This is my bench with a view.
It’s of the river with boats and shit.
But as the joggers jog
A man with a dog
Stops and it pisses on it.
‘Cheers mate!’ I say, looking up.
But he’s hot-footing it down the path.
‘Come again then, you dick,
And bring a big stick,
We’ll all have a jolly good laugh!’
I used to be an angel,
On my cloud with my toys, reading books.
But it all went to pot,
As dad drank a lot
And mum gave him reproachful looks.
Eventually she left us,
And my cloud felt all acrid and dead.
I walked out of the door,
An angel no more,
This bench, ever after my bed.
Dad drank himself to the grave.
I was just told about it tonight.
We didn’t stay in touch,
And no one cared much.
Although I think my mother might.
It’s been a strange kind of week.
Mum found me on my bench fading fast.
The day turned to dusk
As I smelled her Dry Musk
And she held me,
She breathed me,
Her tears soaked into me
How I long for this moment to last…
So my future bed is my past bed but where there once was a cloud, with a quilt so divine there is now a simple divan, too small for my limbs and too lumpy for my back.
But I can stretch like a cat, if I dangle my foot over the edge.
I can curl up in a ball, as long as I avoid the middle.
I can sleep like a baby, if I have the radio on.
I can close the door on the world so that sleep can descend upon me without any fear.
I’ve had two beds in my life, not including a cot. One saw me through childhood, kept me warm, save from harm and nursed me through sniffles and coughs. One saw me through heartache, kept me down, safe from no one and bought my mother back to me.
Given the choice, I’d be where I am now, complete with the lumps and the occasional misplaced spring. I’ll die in this bed, I swear, but not yet. For tonight we’re off out, my mother and I, made-up and with Dry Musk pervasive.