‘It’s a Pegasus!’ said my friends’ eldest daughter this evening when I asked her why her little pink toy horse had wings.
‘It can fly!’ she said smiling – immediately demonstrating this irrefutable fact as she trailed it through the air, walking away from me with her younger sibling.
I was surprised.
Not because of her vocabulary. She’s clearly a bright little spark.
Her five times table, recited while we waited in the pub for our dinner to be delivered was spot on (all the way up to 105!), as was her mental arithmetic. She wanted to be a vet, she told me while sitting on her mom’s lap, so she could help animals.
Presumably she didn’t plan to discriminate. The future career choice as I imagined she envisaged it would most likely include mythological creatures as well as more traditional ones.
As a child I had loved Greek mythology, particularly Jason and the Argonauts and the trials of Odysseus. This was a minor obsession for a short while while I was growing up, and it was also a subject I’d happily studied at university.
For some reason though when I looked at the horse I’d not associated the word to the miniature animal in my hand.
This has been happening a lot over the last few weeks – and this was another example where my thoughts were elsewhere without me realising it. Where I found myself not connecting the dots.
At that particular moment my mind had clearly been back in my mom’s bungalow, where I’d been with my brother for most of the day, clearing the last few smaller items.
‘Its nearly empty.’ My brother had said, standing in the living room as we prepared to leave for the penultimate time.
I noticed as he said this his voice wavered slightly. I didn’t ask if he was ok. I kind of knew how he felt. If I had replied I might have choked too.
Behind me was mom’s dark red patterned armchair, the one she’d been fighting for breath in, surrounded by fleece blankets, balancing a cup of tea on her lap and refusing to leave when we wanted her to go to hospital. The oxygen condenser had always been switched on whenever I visited and the constant hum of its operation had been connected in my mind to her seated in that position.
Now the armchair was silent and empty.
When I looked at it while I walked around the house I had wondered why there was no trace of her – no dent in the springs, or discolouration in the fabric. It was just an armchair now, with no hint of its recent occupant.
Now all that remained in the house were bare items of furniture, waiting to be picked up by the man with the cowboy hat in a week’s time.
Once he’d lassoed them into his van they would all be gone, and the chapter would be closed.
It was a strange, and sad feeling that had taken the word ‘Pegasus’ away from me momentarily, and continued to hold me in time at the bungalow even after I left there.
Back at the pub our meals arrived, and as we prepared to eat we began to catch up with each other’s recent events. Picking up their cutlery both of my friends silently engaged their parental sixth sense, tracking their daughters while they edged ever closer to the enticing pool table in the corner the pub.
The two girls mischievously began to circle their silent prey while behind them adult conversation turned to the evils of underfloor heating contractors.
Previously I had assumed that these fine people were pillars of society, but over many recent months several of them had secretly banded together with a solemn vow to individually provide the crappiest customer service possible to my friends. In doing so it seemed they had collectively exposed themselves as the very worst kind of scum and villainy and deserved deep disdain.
Their infallible ability to be completely fallible was the only trait they posessed that could be counted on it transpired. They had proven to be aloof, unhelpful, missed appointments, failed to provide quotes, and were generally a bad sort.
Such irredeemable actions had not enhanced the environment of their prospective clients, whose floor (for the time being) remained very chilly, in tandem with their mood on the subject.
However, despite my best efforts to think venomous thoughts in solidarity about underfloor heating contractors, the armchair remained in the back of my mind.
I realised then that Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross was playing in the background.
Ten days ago this was the opening song at my mother’s funeral, and was her favourite, as far as I knew.
I mentioned this to my friend and (having read my blog) she reminded me that I had written recently that the universe seemed to be talking to me, and suggested that this might be another example.
Lately its definitely got something to say.
Maybe its always talked to me and I just haven’t listened. Maybe I’ve heard but not realised. Maybe I’m looking for patterns where beforehand I wasn’t. Maybe I was too drunk to care.
It does seem odd though that these things keep happening, and I’m glad that in writing a blog I’m keeping a note of them, because in a year or so I’d like to look back at who I am now and compare me to who I will be then.
I hope I’m a bit more like my friends’ daughters who had concluded by the end of the evening that it was a really good idea to put all the cue tip chalk down the pockets of the pool table, thus making the game far more challenging than its future participants would be expecting.
They weren’t thinking about armchairs and depressed springs. They were living in the moment and just loving life in pigtails as they ran around the pub with a little pink Pegasus poking out of the top of a comfy, warm little blue jumper.