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Friday, 9 September 2011

Waking up slowly

The morning begins slowly. Three strong mugs of tea and solitude. I don’t count the radio, murmuring the news, telling me what to think for the day and the rest of my life. Sometimes I will sit in a green gloom with curtains closed. On good days I will draw the curtains wide and stare through the conservatory at a giant damson tree, its leaves furiously break-dancing, feeding on air.

The tree is a slow measure of the seasons, a dense green throughout summer, gold and brown then ragged as autumn progresses, and finally bare, showing the hills beyond.

Today I realised I was stroking a hair just below my bottom lip.

I hadn’t shaved; my face a mess of stubble. I realised at the same time that I always fingered this particular hair. Short and stubby just below the bottom lip. This was an errant hair following no particular grain, an oak amongst hairs. I still had two cups of tea to go, so plenty of time to work this one out. My hand coursed across both cheeks and jaw line. It was like feeling sandpaper, coarse uniformity. Not one hair drew attention to itself. If I arbitrarily chose one I immediately lost it when trying to find it again.

My finger returned to its old friend, pushing it from side to side, enjoying the tense tingle to the skin around it, feeling the urge to shave it hard, knowing it would grow again and be waiting for me as perky as ever the following morning.
Reassured, I drained my final mug of tea and woke up my wife. A new day begun.

10 comments:

DRC said...

lol...I confess to having a random hair that I always end up playing with when i'm thinking. It's among the fuzzy bits that make up my sideburn. *cringe...should I really be saying this? :D

Mike Keyton said...

Should I really be saying this? - I wouldn't worry too much; my blog has a small, but select readership. And everyone of those are even now considering whether to divulge their more intimate moments when they think they are alone :)

Maria Zannini said...

Mike, you might need to expand your circle of friends--aside from your long hair. :)

Did your wife ask you to shave afterward?

Claudia Del Balso said...

Hi Mike,
I read your dating story (the link you left in my blog) :)
Cute story. I know you were young and that's why you were heartbroken but I bet it made you stronger. We all learn from past experiences whether they're good or bad. We learn from people we meet, whether they stay in our lives or not. Thank you for sharing that with me ;)
I know I embraced my heartaches, they built my character and who I am now. ;)

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, I have no friends at 6.45 am.

Mike Keyton said...

Claudia - heartbreaks are fun looking back. I don't know about the learning :)

Shirley Wells said...

In an odd almost freakish sort of way, that's a fascinating story. But perhaps you should get out more? Or cut back on the tea? ;)

Mike Keyton said...

Monmouth is dead at 6 a.m. Shirley. And the three mugs of tea are essential. I think, maybe, the answer is to shave the night before. But would I be hurting its feelings?

Shirley Wells said...

I think the answer is to get up later. Most places are dead at 6 am. At least, that's what I've been told...

Mike Keyton said...

Shirley, I would love to get up later, but one of my few tasks is to wake my beautiful wife up for work and various children depending on circumstances. And I'm in no fit state to wake up anyone, never mind be seen by anyone until I'm three teas down. To make things worse twice a week I go for an early morning swim which necessitates me getting up at 5.45. I dream of a life without responsibility - or is that death :)