Watching the thin white line of reflected sun brush the horizon, the constant rush brush, gentle background push of waves, the breeze plays round the back of my neck, the cloud thickens. I still feel vague heat on my feet and the hardness of wood reminding me of the weight of my legs as they rest on the table.  The sea is calm and I sit in the quiet new after yesterday’s challenges and the soul sickness of the evening.
Last night surrounded me in a vomiting panic having sat through a shared table meal, battered by the sweet old couples who had over 90 years of marriage between them. And I did my best to be antisocial and focussed on the middle distance as she painted pictures of when her husband was “so ill and do you know they even did the last rites but look,” arm squeezing laughs, “he’s still here today.”
So glad our son had eaten enough and I’d had enough, I dropped a hasty napkin, nodded my ashen face at them and took the spiral staircase to be sick in the lifts.

And now after a sobbed sleep I am still here, interrupted by voices, so I’m going in. Sun breaks through, spilling light onto the distant flat grey. Need to think how to approach today.
It all seems so pointless, empty, absolutely nothing working and the days drill out before me like the endless sea. This negative wave feels so solid right now and huge windmills appear off on our right and I feel my self railing at things I can’t conquer. It’s pulling up on the horizon like something to sail into.
Something planned for that turns up with expected unforeseeness, skirting round the turbulence but feeling the swell. This is getting me nowhere, unprepared for this hollow cold sharp wanting.
Deep out breath, need to move. 
It’s getting nearer.

7/8/12  Copenhagen, Denmark
 
Woke close to windmills in a busy port of grey spiky tug boats and a weather that’s as unsure as me.
The dense fog of the last two days has eased with the new landscape. This is why I do this. Our way to see outside our boxes.
Six years ago I was surrounded by them, packed high and full and we left the old house for the long journey round the corner, to spread out and grow in the garden. And now the garden gets left as long as possible and I’m trying to help us both grow.
The sun is forcing through over the pillars and cranes. Windmills still waving at me – need to fill the rucksacks.

Inland I stand behind, watching our son move through the clamouring clicking, to grasp his own image of The Little Mermaid and feel an affinity, out of my element with a new identity, striving to get to a place I can’t reach. And we float by spires wrapped in dragon tales and I’m comfortably lost in our story.

I watch the wirlygigs squat gracefully into the horizon trying to hold their image until they become distant sticks,  eaten by the clouds, left in a crisp and clean world, smokeless, efficiently giving it back.
White ribbons build in the heavy, green black, rushing alongside and away. The turbines have become today’s badge. I remain in a strange place, I’m probably trying too hard. 

Back then we’d moved in by now, kettle on, our son back from friends, takeaway for tea amongst the dust and newness.

They’re still hanging on, they’re not quite out of sight yet. White lines caught by the sun. A plane breaks my thoughts, cuts over us at right angles. Some other collection of others, heading somewhere for some reason. So much movement while I stand and sway and watch. I look right, I really can’t see them anymore.
I look left in the direction we’re heading.

8/8
Challenging sea day. I sit out now, need my sleeves rolled down. We seem to be chasing another ship. I lean into the wind, studying the change of clouds and a strange yellow smudge arcing to the right. I realise it’s our trail of smoke, pastel pushed into the whiteness. The clouds hang low and light as a small propeller plane chugs over the stern.
Deep in Baltic coldness, the charcoal rich water threatening a bitterness, while gentle summer blues above me imagine it’s warmer. I feel calmer out here, drifting with it. I have to hang on to what works and ride out what doesn’t.

9/8/12  Stockholm, Sweden
Woke into a still flat grey crispness  and a Swedish landscape that lifted me. Finally a sense of being far from home and finding something new in the clean lines and welcoming gulls. Today needs to be better and right now I’m hopeful.

We head out for a while I listen to tales of oak war ships and short nights. A balanced place to live, thirds of lakes, parks and buildings. Protective copper coated wood blurs by and the too clever loud family telling everyone about everything. Oh-Well-Done-Toby’s mum is on permanent broadcast, filling the coach with tales of Alicante and her superficiality gnaws into the weakened gaps of my armour. We survive the 150 metre high gondola ride to the top of the city between bridges. I turned my back away from their annoying distraction and focussed on our sons face in the morning light. High and away from everything familiar, I  hold the memory carefully in my hands.

We pull away from considered, ordered neatness and leave under greyness as seagulls strafe us in the search for fish. Mixed up monochrome sits heavily over warm soft buildings. My void is filled with something I can’t put my finger on. I wave to strangers. The cranes look like compass points over the rock, pushing development, change and growth. I’m fascinated by the gulls and join them on the breeze. Everything in flux.
My transience remains.

Heading  further East, a coldness easing in. Strange landscape, small obscure islands litter the calm metal sheet of water. Patterns knit and weave across it as we push through. This bleakness has a comfortable familiarity.

10/8/12  Tallin, Estonia
Struggling with our sons button pushing. How do I make this work for both of us?

The dock is edged in odd concrete shapes, curving round, kissing the car park like some herd of frozen creatures. We’re both interested in them for a while and re connect before the search for our coach.
We bounce and rattle over cobbles hearing tales of new brides dropping rocks into lakes, releasing balloons and doves to say goodbye to their old names. And I’m struck by their hopeful romanticism, persisting amongst the un nerving medieval backdrop.
We pass the Palace of Happiness as our light, youthful guide tells us her family were on a waiting list for a phone and if you’re too far down you just don’t get one. I tap away on my screen feeling privileged in my Western pain.

And up passed the Kissing Hill where they come to take photos after the service and the old cars and vans beep their loud tradition at the frequent newlyweds.
Deep into the town and Toompea Castle flashes me back, looks like our Italian lakes and the castle we climbed on honeymoon. And the steps were steep and narrow and you photographed me from the opposite tiny window. And we were trapped in separate turrets, feeling our story unfold over the ochre courtyard beneath.
And I wander round with our son in the current Estonian moments as our still, bright cine reel jumps and crackles it’s plot through the narrow passageways. Passed Long Leg street and Short Leg street, joined at the point where old and new meet and the town limps with contrast, like me.

Sitting out later. Seagulls are back, the shawl I bought is too thin for any warmth but the opposing colours appeal to me.  I remember fifteen years ago and heading south for the start of something new and now I drill in further East, feel the harshness of a culture torn from trust, a bitterness of identity and I feel odd, misplaced, misunderstood, marginalised, uprooted and overthrown.

This day has been a better one on the domestic front. The plentiful, traditional non-essential essentials gave us both some lightness. The delicate, uneven, thin lilt of accents reminded me I’m far from home and the earlier severity of the weeks feelings have frozen to strangeness in this slightly unyielding place. 
I see a town split, a contrast of needs and wealth, a place of redefining. Their flags wave blue, black and white. Blue of rivers, black of soil and white for purity – Hope.  Proud to no longer be prize or target..
The gulls follow us and fly so low and near. I watch their feet sway in the wind. There’s a growing harshness, I go inside. getting ready for the feelings and moments to come.

x

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