You know, there is something about walking at 3.30pm on a cold, rainy February day. Oh, something special, something... a feeling, a memory, a Proustian rush, if you like.
I'm walking home from school. When I get in, the cat will be sprawled out on the huge boiler in the kitchen, mum will be there, it will be warm, there will be condensation on the window. The only light in the living room comes from the gas fire with its flashes of blue and pink licking at the grills, and the table lamp in the corner of the typical G-Plan shelving unit - it's ambient, not quite dark outside. I kick off brown shoes and damp white socks, give Cleo a stroke so she lazily licks my face (ooh, such a raspy tongue - like sandpaper!) - then I perch on the yellow stool at the kitchen counter to have a bowl of Weetabix with warm milk. We seem to be incessantly hungry at 12 years old, I already had a gingerbread man from Simmonds on the way home (who can possibly ignore the temptation of sweet baked delights in the window of the best cake shop in town after double Maths and a Geography test?) 'The Changes' will be on telly soon.... chilling but compelling, I'm hooked.
Why am I telling you this? Simply because I was walking at 3.30pm today - a cold, rainy February day - and the words I've just written were floating around in my head. The rain soaks my hair and I don't care, the high collar on the warmest coat that has ever been invented (honestly, it's amazing, like a blanket) is turned up, stroking my cheeks. Thank god no school uniform...no damp socks, or Double Maths, but I still get that feeling. Green doors do it too, you know that really strong shade of mid green; I've no idea why. Anyway I'll write this down when I get in and post it, I thought - not much, I realise, but a way to break the silence at last, if nothing else...!
I appreciate that the comfortable memories of simple things from the past hold their appeal more than ever at the moment, but I've always had that rainy afternoon thing, a place to go to which can't be spoiled, and I like it very much.
Is there anywhere you go?