In a previous post here: http://wp.me/p1PeVl-f I asked for inspiration suggestions. Jackie came back with the phrase “Today is Monday.” An interesting challenge – it’s a wide open suggestion, leading potentially anywhere. So I started thinking, what does Monday mean? Traditionally, Monday mornings are dreaded, so that’s the obvious link. But they are also places for beginnings.
So, here’s the first draft of my response to Jackie’s idea. As ever, I welcome your comments – good and bad – and if you want to make your own suggestions for future pieces, I will post whatever I come up with.
Today is Monday. “All day,” as my Dad used to say.
It’s strange, back then it seemed crazy not to know what day it was, even for a moment. Now, I surprise myself by remembering. It isn’t as if it makes any difference now – I haven’t got to go to work or school; the experiences of the day and the people I spend it with don’t change just because it’s no longer the weekend. Not anymore.
Back then, dreaded getting out of bed. “Do I have to get up?”
He’d drag the duvet off me and allow the cold air to invade the space I’d spent all night warming. “Yep!” It was a joke to him. He was a cheerful person, always ready with a smile and some infuriating piece of so-called good news. “It’s raining, so you won’t have to walk to school today,” like that was going to make his teenage daughter spring out of bed with a new joie de vivre.
Now, of course, I don’t have to get up. I don’t have to do anything. But now a whole night’s warmth doesn’t melt the ice on my blanket, so getting up isn’t so unappealing. And Dad isn’t here.
Seattle used to be one of those towns which attracted homeless people in the summer. It was warm and pleasant, and apparently the people and cops here were easier to get along with than further South. I read that in a newspaper and I wondered how homeless people could afford to travel two hundred miles to pick which streets they slept on.
These days, homes aren’t the problem. It’s having people to fill them.
Yesterday I saw someone across the street. It might have been a child, but I doubt there are any children around still. Probably just an adult without the body mass we used to take for granted. I stopped looking in the mirror when the face staring back looked more like Dad’s than mine. I couldn’t bear those sallow cheeks and dark eyes staring back at me.
When he got sick, I tried to keep him at home. The APCs trailed up and down the streets calling on us to bring out victims for our own protection, but I’d heard the rumours and I couldn’t let them take him. The patrols got less and less, and then one day they stopped altogether. That night, Dad didn’t wake up. I suppose just knowing he was safe was enough for him.
Since it’s Monday, I’ve decided to start something new. Last week, I found a radio in the big house at the end of the street. It doesn’t feel like stealing anymore; more like the whole city belongs to me. And anyone else who is left. That person I saw too, I suppose.
Tuning it is frustrating. The only reason it works at all is it’s an old battery-powered type, so it’s sufficiently old to be tuned using a dial. I remember us having a radio like this when I was little. Lots of static in between the stations. Now it’s all static. But there’s hope. I’ve found a patch of silence between the static. Silence means someone is there. Someone is, or might be, broadcasting. If they are broadcasting, that means people, and power, and possibility.
Now I just have to wait, and listen to the silence, until it becomes sounds.