Friday, 9 November 2007

Chameleon 11

John and Amy arrived home just after six, rustling in with various plastic bags of food. Chris had finally showered and dressed sometime late in the afternoon. Having explored the flat Dinner was prepared by Amy while John fiddled with network cables, running them from the office to Chris's room, checking that everything worked and then finally neatly tucking them all under the carpet edges. After dinner, chicken, boiled potatoes, green beans John made his excuses and went off to the office to complete some work, leaving Chris to chat with Amy at the table. Normally he did not like talking about himself, his parents were lucky to get more than one word answers but here he felt so at ease, so accepted, that he found himself responding happily to Amy's gentle prompting chatting about school, his friends, everything really.
" Oh, and this is for you " she said sliding a piece of paper across the table.
It was a phone number. He looked at it blankly.
" Your aunt Agnes" she said, " I wasn't sure if you had it, you know, in case you wanted to call your parents. "
My parents, of course, thought Chris they would be there by now, in the sitting room take the high road on the telly, dinner on plates on their laps. Ah, but not my parents, and I don't have to be there. He looked up and met Amy's expectant gaze. Oh well, he thought.
" Yes, I should phone " He looked up at her catching her concern resolve into a smile. Chris knew when to say the right thing. Glancing at the clock, he ran through the familiar TV schedule in his head, life in Elgin seemed to revolve around the different soap operas.
" Now would be a good time " he said slowly, thinking " If that is ok I mean, Take the High Road is just finishing and Emmerdale is not on for another half an hour " " Of course it's Ok, I'll just pop these plates in the sink then I'd better see how John is doing " Amy made her diplomatic exit as Chris started dialling.
" Hello " said a faint scottish voice.
" Hi Aunty, its me " there was a brief puzzled silence then
" Chris ! of course, you'll be wanting to speak to your mum and dad I suppose "
" errrm . . . ." Chris started to say but there was a clonk then muffled distant voices followed by a sudden breathless but familiar voice, his mum.
" Chris, I was hoping you would call. How are things ?, did you meet John and Amy ? where are you now ? "
" Fine, I'm . . . " he started to reply but was instantly cut off his mum continuing. " I am sorry Chris, it was all a bit rushed really. I mean our trip was arranged and I know how much you dislike Elgin, and when John suggested you stay with them, well it seemed a perfect way for you all to get to know each other . . "
Chris slumped slightly, mum obviously had things to say.
" and I know it was all short notice, and we would have liked to come along too, to the meeting that is, but Aggie was expecting us and you know how much your dad hates driving in the dark . . . "
Chris had switched off and was gazing round the kitchen. How different it was here, didn't his parents realise he was grown up, almost an adult. No, of course they didn't, he was just a child to them, how different to his real parents.
" And is everything ok ?, are you fine ? are they treating you ok ? have you eaten ? are you behaving yourself ? "
" Actually mum, everythings great " Chris cut in across his mums frantic questioning.
" I mean I was wondering if I could, you know, stay longer . . . "
There was silence then his mums voice, suddenly quiet
" Oh . . . "

" I mean I'm just in the way during the holidays really, and I have my own room here, I'm in the middle of town and John and Amy are great, really great "
" Well if that is what you want " said his mum hesitantly
" we'll be back in a couple of weeks, and I am sure we could all meet up and discuss things, come to some arrangement, if that is what you want of course " a pause " What you really want."

" Brilliant mum, I mean thanks that is. Anyway I had better go, John was fixing up my computer so I can get online, he might be finished. I'll see you when you get back, yes ?"
" Yes, when we get back then, errm bye "
But Chris was already replacing the receiver, his mums quiet sadness cut off, unnoticed.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Chameleon 10

Music, he thought, wandering aimlessly around the spacious room. The cd's were in an alcove on a shelf above the player, tucked in beside a green leafy plant and below the books. Lots of books. Chris's fingers flicked along the cds, David Gray, Celine Dione . . . . dull, dull middle aged crap he thought, although The Ramones and The Clash ( digitally remastered ) hinted at a more interesting past. Ignoring the books for the time being Chris's eye was caught by one of a small group of DVDs further down. " Blade runner - the Directors Cut "
" Result ! , I just knew it ! " he exclaimed out loud, remembering last nights test.
Picking out the DVD for a closer look he paused, remembering something he had seen in one of the kitchen cupboards. Back in the kitchen he fished out a flat packet from deep in a cupboard, microwave popcorn, yummy.
Back in the sitting room clutching a large glass bowl of popcorn he flopped down to watch the film.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Be still and know

Monday 3.45pm

Meditation they say is good for you. The problem I have found is finding somewhere quiet and undisturbed to practice in. Not anymore. I have discovered the perfect place, and if you have the same problem don't worry, it is open to everybody, 24 hours a day, in all major cities, smaller ones too. And the name of this oasis of calm - the hospital E.D. ( thats the emergency department or A.&E. - accident and emergency if you are abroad ). Anyway, back to meditation. Firstly you need something to concentrate your mind upon. You could use your breathing but if you think about it, there is something much better, yes the pain ! Now all you need is a place where you will not be disturbed for a while. Well once you have booked in and doen some paperwork a finger will come over the desk pointing to the waiting room and here nothing happens for hours, perfect. Now just sit and clear your mind, thoughts may try to come and go but don't worry, the pain will easily block them out. Are you thinking about how you got here ? what will happen ? Don't, detach yourself from thoughts of the future and the past, there is only now. This is not as hard as it sounds because here no one will tell you what is happening or how long you'll be waiting. A person dressed in blue pyjamas may come and stare around the room occasionally but will leave without speaking and was probably the cleaner anyway, detach yourself, there is only the moment, now. A very, very long now. With practice the human condition will become apparent to you as the room fills with still tableau of human misery, as seperate from you as you are from your thoughts. Let it pass, concentrate . . . . there is only now.
Mind you if you do not take the meditative approach you are in trouble. Your visit will be more like torture by sensory deprivation. Nothing happens, time stretches out and out then stops, becomes still. The warm sticky air coalesces until it is impossible to breathe, talking is stifled, you cannot call for help, there is no escape . . . . . no escape.

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