Saturday, 20 February 2016

Tween becomes Teen. And we go to a shoe shop.

Bugger and arses. I'm back.

Truth is, I hadn't really recognised why I was closing the blog down in the first place. After a few weeks of pen-down, I can now tell you exactly why it was.

I had run out of words.

I guess this must happen, at some point, to all writers. Everything has been said. Half-tempting avenues lead to dead ends. All that comes out has already been said by someone else. And so you think you're done; you pack your laptop away and resign yourself to a lifetime of office work drudgery.

And yet. The green shoots of spring are poking through. I seem to have the bug again, with more thoughts and ideas rumbling round my head that I can shake a stick at. My boys are growing up and changing, providing me with some brilliant thoughts for the day. And more than that - I want to write. It's creative and gives me purpose. It's good for my mental well-being.

So here goes. My first post for a while. (It's a short one.)

Tween became Teen during my time away. Now 13, he has grown to the dizzy heights of over six foot. His brain injury seems to have all but healed, with him now getting only the occasional headache. He is back at school. The accident seems like a very distant, troubling, memory.

Sometimes I worry that he will never stop growing, Roald Dahl style. That in a year's time, we will have to knock through the ceiling of the kitchen just so that he can stand straight. That he'll be too big to sleep in his bedroom and will have to lie down on sacks in the shed. That he'll be carted off to the circus.

Shoe shopping does nothing to allay my fears. In Clarks, the poor assistant measuring his sweaty, odd-socked feet, and looking askance. "That one," pointing at the right foot, "is coming up as a twelve, but this one," pointing at the left, "is a twelve-and-a-half."

I sigh. "What have you got?"

She sighs. "Probably nothing he'll like. But I'll go and look."

Teen looks at his socks, non-plussed, while she's away. I try not to embarrass him by just being, and make myself small.

She comes back, looking smug. "Found a pair!" she said, brightly. But then bends down to me, saying in hushed tones, "they are slip-ons, though."

I try not to show my disgust, as Teen tentatively takes them out of the box and looks at them, all over. "No laces," he grunts, and shoves them on. He stands up, walks about, comes back. The shop assistant and I don't dare to breathe. I catch his eye, and after a short pause he says, "They're fine."

Shocked but delighted, I scoop the shoes off his feet and up to the counter before he changes his mind. They are rung through the till so quickly by the assistant that she even forgets to try to sell us shoe protector. And then we are out, in the fresh air, feeling like winners.

I tentatively approach him about the slip-on issue. "It's okay, mum," he says. "It's like the three stages of man." I think -  what the actual fuck? Is this boy 13 or did I fall asleep for five years and miss a chunk out? - but I tell him to go on. "It's the three stages of shoes. First, velcro, when you're too young for laces. Then, laces, when you need that little bit of extra help keep your shoes on. But now, I just don't need laces anymore, mum."

"I'm almost a man, mum. And I'm ready for slip-ons."