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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Walk with me

The Wolds Way
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.
We're ambling down the country lanes across the arable lands where sheep are scattered like fluffy polka dots.

It's a magical place, the countryside. A brown rock may suddenly rise up into the air with a loud fluttering sound and turn into a brightly coloured pheasant. Solid land may turn into a sucking green bog. Grey rabbits appear and disappear with a flash of a cottony-white tail.

I like to watch my breath change in the cold, misting into a cloud in front of my lips. I'd like to be able to blow rings, but it never works. Perhaps one day, someone will teach me.

Winter berries
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me

MDH strides on in front of me with head in the air, the better to sniff the fresh air with. He is in his element here. I am more cautious, treading gingerly behind. I've been used to walking on level concrete; it's difficult to walk on the uneven ground. It's hard work on the ankles, having to negotiate the bumps and dips of rural turf.

We walk for hours, until the blue sky turns a deep gold and each tree is filled with singing birds returning to roost. Then, we know that we should hurry home, before the night comes. As usual, we have forgotten to bring a torchlight, and so we must hurry, for there are no street lamps here.

MDH holds my hand and pulls me along, because I'm getting weary. It's nice to hold a warm hand in this cold weather.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dennis Son

She was dark haired with smooth, shimmering skin that was pale and pearlescent. Her admirers compared her to the tall lily and the white iris, because of her delicacy and her radiance.

But her favourite suitor called her Lotus.

She liked it because of the way he said it, his lips shaping the round vowels like kisses. She also liked the cheeky way he would refer to himself as "the future Lotus-eater". It was thrillingly naughty, and it made her giggle and blush.

He looked into her dark blue eyes and told her that she was his Lotus, and she was intoxicating. He wanted nothing more than to be with her, and near her always. The longer she was with him, the less he wanted to leave her.

In the evenings, he would visit her at her mother's house, and they would sit in the garden. He would read her poetry from a small volume bound in brown leather, and she would sit on the bench with her hands folded. Like a proper lady. Their favourite poet was Tennyson, partly because of her namesake poem, but mostly because they loved the flower in the crannied wall.

Her nickname for him was 'Dennis Son', but she shortened it to "Dens".

He was eighteen years old when he died from terrible wounds in a terrible crash. She had made it to the hospital just in time to hold his hand, one last time. He called out her name before he died. She was sixteen.

And from then on, it was Lotus and her mother, just the two of them.

"Would you like to see his picture?", Lotus asked me.

She rifled through her wallet and brought out a small photograph.

We looked at it together. Smiling out at me was a dark-haired boy, with hair combed neatly back away from his forehead. He wore a jacket with the collar turned up, and his eyes were laughing. Lotus looked at me and sighed, "Isn't he beautiful? He was so proud when he had this picture taken." She touched the picture lightly with one finger, tracing the line of his cheek and chin.

The photo was slightly worn around the boy's face.

"There was no one to replace him. I tried going out with other boys, but it always felt wrong. There was only Dens for me. In the end it was just Mam and myself, and we looked after each other so we were never lonely. I think Mam would have liked me married, but it's better this way. I've been content."

She sighed and looked at her feet.

"I think it was good he died so young, loving me and remembering as I was, his own Lotus blossom. I wouldn't like him to see me now, the way I am, so tired and ill."

Her hands were no longer smooth and the pearlescence of her skin had long gone. Her dark hair was white-streaked and stringy, her blue eyes were filmy and dim. And her voice bore the faint creaking sound of senility.

But Dens was forever young in her mind's eye, beloved and beautiful even after sixty long years. He would come for her someday soon and reward her years of faithfulness, he would come with hands outstretched, smiling in his roguish way.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Things change

So, circumstances in the UK have forced MDH and I to make some very tough choices.

We, like the geese in chevron flight, will be flying south when autumn comes. South, southeast, and back to the little spot on the equator that I used to call 'home'.

This is the reason for my long silence. There was too much to think about, and I could not put it in words.

To be honest, I had never believed that I would ever stay in the UK forever, not even when I bought that one way ticket to Heathrow three years ago. I won't say that Singapore is the end point of my wanderings either. MDH and I both have wings on our shoes and we will fly again, wherever God leads us.

It's just the time.

We've got the urge for going, and we've got the wings to go.
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