Saturday, 15 September 2007

Chameleon 9

In Edinburgh, Chris woke late, to find himself under a distant unfamiliar ceiling. White, white ceiling, large white spherical paper lampshade. White plaster moulding round the periphery, faint cracks running this way and that, and a faint powdery yellow stain in one corner. Coving he thought to himself, and then It is all true. He lay there sleepily remembering yesterdays events. The house was quiet. In the background were the muted city sounds, mostly traffic but the house itself had that silence, that stillness that only an empty house can have. The window was a bright white rectangle set into the shadowy wall, the sun was on the other side of the flat, it was still morning. No curtains he noticed, then Ahh, shutters. A dark line down the side of the deep window reveal gave hint to the original shutters tucked away. Clues, all clues to the two strangers that were now part of his life. My real parents. Eventually his bladder threatened to burst forcing him to get up and go for a pee. He wandered down to the kitchen in his boxers and tee shirt, yawning and stretching. The kitchen was exactly as he had first seen it the afternoon before, tidy, neat. On the table, pinned down by a blue and white cylindrical vase was a neatly written note and upon that, two keys. Chris held the keys, front door, stairdoor, as he read the note.
" Teaching up at the university, George square, this week - left early and didn't want to disturb you."
" Make yourself at home, eat anything etc, we will be home around six and will sort out supper then. "
It was signed " J & A "
" ps will pick up a cable on the way home and get you online this evening, see you then "
Make yourself at home, cool, Chris thought and started exploring the cupboards. Most of Valvona & Crolla was there but not much teenager food. Lets try the fridge. Ok, lots of yoghurt and cheese, bottled water, milk and orange juice. Pouring himself a glass of orange juice, Chris took the milk to the table and went back to the cupboards for the big bag of muesli he had found along with some drinking chocolate powder, a white bowl, a spoon and a glass jug. With chocolate milk the muesli was much more appetising and he contentedly munched his way through two bowlfulls whilst strolling round the kitchen, peering into cupboards and drawers once again. One shelf contained cookery books, Indian, Chinese, Italian and some by Nigella Lawson. Pinned to a small notice board near the door were timetables and a calender with notes about meetings "Chris - first contact" it said in yesterday, along with some phone numbers, one of them his. He unpinned a postcard of an old german looking building to read the back. " Prague beautifull as expected. Conference oscillating between interesting and dull, again as expected. Hoping to see some progress in your work when I get back next month, will tell all the gossip then. James " Underneath the postcard a faded newspaper photo was revealed. Chris peered at it and a smiling sheep and lamb peered back but the writing itself had all faded, more clues. Once finished he went off to explore further. At the kitchen door he stopped and looked back, then came back in and washed his bowl and glass carefully in the sink and put everything away. Going into each room in turn he looked out of the windows. Chris always did this, he liked to know where he was, he looked but did not touch. There was something fragile about this new situation that he did not want to spoil. The door to the closed room remained that way, he got as far as putting his hand on the handle but again something stopped him. He went on to the sitting room.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Monday 8pm

Back at work today after a weeks holiday. Absolutely worn out now. Not because of work but because I woke up at four o'clock this morning worrying, and did not get really get back to sleep. Well not until six and of course thats when the alarm went off. What is the purpose of worry ? My first patient this morning was going to be a more complicated job and I knew I would be a bit short of time. And so for two hours this morning this went over and over, round and round, in my head, all the things that could go wrong. But in the end it all went fine and we finished on time. So what is the purpose of worrying ? Whatever is going to happen will happen, right or wrong, worrying does not affect it one little bit, yet I cannot stop. And it is always four in the morning for me, I worry about one thing then I worry that I am worrying about it then I worry that I am not sleeping because of the worrying then I worry that I will miss the alarm then I worry that I will be tired and not do that one thing well because I was awake worrying . . . . . help. Actually I think it is a sign of a lack of self confidence on my part. Sitting idly the other day the thought suddenly came to me that what I am really worried about, deep down inside under all those rocks, one of the squirmy tentacled things of my mind is the fear that I will be discovered, that someone will suddenly pop up and say " Aha ! caught you. What do you think you are doing pretending to be a dentist. And what do you mean you're good at it ? Who told you that ? Well, we are all the other dentists and we say you are rubbish, so there " A daft thought that hides when you put the light on but in the dark its the tentacled things that pull the strings in my mind.
If I was an evil demon I think I would send a plague of worrying onto people. That would certainly bring the world to a halt. But I would probably worry about that as well.

Photo is of course an aeroplane, something I never worry about. But the deep ocean where ships sail, well . . . .

Chameleon 8

Floating happily on the thought of a trip to Edinburgh, Chris spent the rest of the day sketching and helping her gran in the garden. As Chris peeled the potatoes for the shepherds pie late that afternoon gran and her agreed upon Friday as the best day to go which would give Chris time to contact her friends to see what they were up to. And Chris as well she thought this holiday might not be so dull afterall. After dinner she sat down at Gran's computer and got onto Msn to find out what everybody was up to. There were only Jaks and Mark online, but it was the holidays and everything got a bit mixed up with not being at school and folk being on holiday and all that. Jaks seemed to be getting on with Mark as expected, very well in fact. But you know Chris found she didn't really care. It was funny she thought, how if you weren't actually there or involved then none of the usual stuff mattered to you. What did matter was that "MoGoodLovin", Chris that is, was not online. I hope he has not gone away for the Summer, she said to herself I really, really want to meet him. Fed up with Jaks and Marks silly canoodleing talk she decided to email Chris. ( It is just my email address mum! he is ok you know, we have chatted for ages I know all about him.) " Hi Chris, am stuck out in the wilderness for the hols but in town Fri. Fancy a meet - email me, Chris " That done there was nothing left to do but sit and watch telly with gran and the cats. Gran had sky as well as broadband but it seemed to be stuck on the history channel whenever she was watching so E! and MTV were out. Interesting people the Romans.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Chameleon 7

Chris got dressed and went downstairs. Then came back up and got changed. Granny was cool, Chris liked her. Mum would have lectured her for hours but gran just said " I thought you might like to feed the chickens while I make breakfast. Those are lovely shoes, dear, but they might get a bit muddy, don't you think ? " Taking off her stilettos Chris had to agree she was probably right, and anyway the country girl look was fashionable at the moment, even Kate Moss was wearing it. Fashion was Chris's thing, her passion. But not that stupid teenage girly stuff, real fashion. Stylishly eclectic she thought, with influences from wartime retro through classic black to post modern disposable. (In her spare moments Chris liked to compose her publicity bio.). She came back down into the kitchen again, a perfect vision of fifties postwar country girl. Gran looked up and smiled through crinkly eyes. " You know where everything is, hen ? " The kitchen smelt of bread, Granny was surrounded by chopped vegetables and behind her rising steam gently danced in the sunlight. " And could you have a look at Polly for me, she was dragging a wing yesterday. " " The gingery brown one ? will do " As she stood outside throwing handfulls of corn amongst the squabbling birds Chris looked around, shading her eyes against the sharp wintery sun. Gran's cottage was surrounded by green, sheltered and quiet in a slight dip. In front, over the road rose tall beech trees marking the edge of a country estate. You could walk in the woods, the owners didn't mind, just so long as you didn't go too close to the big house. Behind, beyond the rasberry canes and wire fence, green fields rose up to a high horizon. Chris could hear the grass tearing as the distant black and white heifers quietly munched away. An unseen rabbit thumped the ground and rustled away in the undergrowth, a blackbird came to join the chickens for a late breakfast. Polly was fine, pecking away happily but keeping her distance, Chris noticed, from Lara the big white one.
An elderly man came walking down the road, and as Chris came into view he was stopped in his tracks, instantly transported back to his wartime childhood by the sight of Chris in her floral prints and head scarf. She returned his wave and he continued on smiling happily to himself. Chris was a people person. She would never have said so, but she was. There was just something . . . if she walked past people would pause to look. If she spoke, people listened.

Back in the kitchen the bread was ready and they sat at the table together eating, the big brown tea pot under its cat cosy between them. " So what are your plans for today, dear ? " From behind the rim of her blue striped mug Chris looked out of the window, " I think as the weather is so good I'll take my sketchbook up the hill, natural images are going to be the next big thing you know. " " what about you gran ? " " I'll be outside as well, there is always of weeding to do. " Chris looked at her brightly " hey, I could do some as well " "That would be lovely, but no rush, you have the whole of the holidays ahead " Clouds crossed Chris's features as she frowned. The holidays, yeah, eight more weeks stuck down here. Alone. "You'll be missing your friends I suppose." " A bit gran, but it's Ok, I'll catch up when I get back " " Not the same as being there though, is it ? " Chris looked at her sharply, gran was smiling across the table she's teasing me. " You know I've been meaning to get up to town for ages, it would be nice to have company " The clouds suddenly cleared " Really ? " " Yes, really. " said Gran, " As long as you don't spend all day outside Karen Millen with your mouth open " " Gran ! I do not ! ", " Oh yes you do ! " . . . . . . " don't " . . . . "do"
They both started laughing at the same time.
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