I spent a short time alone outside the walls of the art house every day. Not to escape or avoid humiliation as I might have predicted, but for a magic air top-up, gentle realignment. Smoking.
Some days I’d walk a slow lap around the perimeter of the building, intentionally barely lifting my feet so I could feel the damp grass tickling at my toes through my sandals.
Other days I’d visit my favourite spots of the garden – the concrete slab, the bush where something lived, the power cable in its yellow and black striped casing – circling round and round. Then, sometimes I’d walk into the middle of the farm path that sloped up the side of the grounds and just stand there, still for a while.
Twice I sat in the tree swing. Roped to some sturdy branch overhead, the swing seat was made from a repurposed piece of scuffed pink plastic, a sizeable crack splitting its side, perfectly positioned to slyly pinch thighs and bums. What function the scuffed pink plastic had performed in its previous life, I have no inkling.
The ropes of the swing were hung jauntily and so the seat permanently slanted to one side. There was seemingly no way to prevent my body sliding againt sharp edges, no way to prevent rusted metal digging painfully into my hip.
Despite its intent on hurting me, the broken swing gifted me a certain sort of joy – a joy bound up, I think, with memories of an ice lolly I ate on a Spanish beach as a child. Before it split and collapsed in on itself, I imagine the pink plastic to have tasted like the lolly. A little lick, the colour complicated, exotic.
As though to bid me good riddance, early one morning I gleefully thudded down on to the swing seat and last night’s rain water gushed out of the crack in the plastic and soaked me right through to my underwear.