The lights of home are a warm yellow. There’s no strip light cold hard fluorescence blinking into life; here. They are a soft light; home light. Benevolent. Outside the wind is howling, it is a perfect day for turning on the lights before dark has even come. I pull all the curtains and blinds closed against the weather and tuck myself into bed. We have a thing for flannelette sheets. Warm snuggly cosiness. I wiggle my toes down through the sheets, they are still warm from before I got up to light the rooms and close the windows. I’m hunkering down and pulling the heavy covers over me. Safe and secure, in my own bed.
I got myself out of hospital last night by telling a bit of a lie.
I exaggerated my progress and the house officer signed me out. I couldn’t bear one more moment there. A lonely weekend, the frustrations of not being in control of my own treatment. Home here, where the light is warm and the bed is mine. This is where I can help myself. Better. But I see that I have been a little ambitious.
Healthy people are speedy people. Have you noticed that? They move at what seems the speed of light, whizzing around the place, flitting from one thing to another. Barely stopping at all. It’s exhausting to watch. It makes you feel like you need to be rushing about, too. So I did, for a bit. I hung out some washing. I put some more in the machine. I climbed the stairs and made a bed. Then my body flicked over in to ‘NO’ mode. I felt internally shaky, weak and so tired. The contrast between me and the speedy ones so stark. I felt like one of those figures in the midst of a time lapse scene, the world blurring past me as I sat motionless. I lay down. I watched the wind out the window whip the trees and push debris up the road. The rain slanted down on my washing; turning the reflections of the traffic lights at the top of the street into watercoloured puddles.
So I slept. The speedsters kept speeding through the day and eventually I got up again. I called my little guy over to work on some homework. We got out the watercolours. And got absorbed by them. Long after he’d finished his poster, I was still playing with them. What a beautiful distraction from the feelings in my body. I focused on the colour, bleeding out from the brush onto the paper. Filling the spaces with colour and light. I thought about the strokes, the shapes, the way colours moved together. I thought about my Mumma, her artsy legacy spreading out across her children and her grandchildren. She’d like to see me there, playing with paints. Filling my mind with colours to push out the pain, the ache, the things at stake. I thought about her cup, the one she cradled in her hands every time she had a ‘miley’. Her cup. Her hands.
I remembered my Dad, last week, standing there in the kitchen, holding it out to me. That small moment when my breath caught in my throat and I realised the treasure he was giving me. Her cup. His tears, my tears. We could fill that cup with our bereft sadnesses. But she is not here to drink from it. I placed it on my shelf of treasures. I thought about that cup with the paint brush in my hand. I painted a picture with the paints. And packed them all away.
I slowly make my way back to bed. To stretch down into the benevolent yellow light. The comfort of home. I will sleep some more and join the fast ones later. Together in a circle of light cast onto the table from the pendant above. Food, family… home.