And so it was ….1- A collection of ‘snapshots’ or ‘sketches’ of life.
I stand at the kitchen window on a dreary, early September morning. Rain lashes the pains and rivulets of water make their way haltingly downwards. I watch this spectacle for a while, as the garden goes out of focus behind and notice that the smaller rivulets have trouble getting past minor smudges and bits of dirt on the outside pane, which turn their course sideways and then down again as each minute obstacle comes into their way. Even gravity cannot pull them down sometimes, until the rivulet becomes a river as a backlog of water pools behind and as I watch to see the precise point at which gravity wins, the trickle rushes down like a mini waterfall egged on by momentum.
I was given an orchid for my birthday which i have placed on the windowsill and I turn my attention away from the rain and look at it admiringly. It’s a very thoughtful present from one of my son’s friends who says shyly, “well you’ve done such a lot for me..” I consider this. Indeed I have. I have put the young lad up for days beyond number over the years, feeding him, finding spare clothes and cast offs from the boys and at one stage even writing a letter to a Beak presiding over an unfortunate episode in court. The lad – C, had unwittingly given a known nutcase, drinker and druggie some left over morphine C’s dying father had been given a short while before. It appeared the morphine was just enough icing on a cake of debauchery to send the nutcase over the edge. The following morning he was dead.
“To the judge – the honourable justice Nibs, I write to you in connection with the tragic (not very) incident of Mr (Nutter) who died as a result of an accidental overdose. My young friend C has been unwittingly caught up in this upsetting (sordid) affair by kindly trying to help Mr N in his hour of need, giving him some left over morphine from poor Mr C’s now deceased father. He has thus been charged with supplying class A drugs to the now deceased Mr N. Whilst the police acknowledge that Mr C was only trying to help Mr N and that there was no malice or financial gain, Mr C, nevertheless, sees it was a huge mistake.
I have known this young lad for many years and know him to be a thoroughly decent boy with good prospects. It would be deeply sad if having got himself into this mess he should then be punished for what was a genuinely altruistic deed, however misguided and would turn what is a sad situation into a tragedy.” Blah blah, creep and suck up a bit more…yours very faithfully.
It worked. What could have been a jail sentence, with the apparent help from my letter (which was actually better written than I have recalled it here) C was let off with some minimal community service. “It was thanks to that letter you know” his barrister advised him later. I think it was also partly because I knew the prosecutor. Another friend of the boys’ father from prep school. I knew I couldn’t approach him directly (and hadn’t seen him since the boys finished school) but I thought when he saw my note to the judge and recognised the name, he would not pursue the matter to the nth degree of the law. And so it was.
I look at the Orchid. I know next to nothing about them. It seems to me to be one part absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and the other part creepy. There is a long single stem and about two thirds up, this thin stick is adorned with eight beautiful pink flowers. They seem to have a ‘face’ cheerfully looking out at me and I am told that they are called a ‘Moth’ Orchid owing to the fact that they look like a moth in flight. They do, sort of. But zoom downwards to the see through plastic pot, it is another story altogether. Here the thin stalk disappears into a very foreign, jungle like mix of bits of bark, dried seeds, flax and who knows what else. But the most creepy bits are the Orchids legs or rather roots. These have pushed their way upwards and are visible around the pot, and downwards out through holes in the bottom. To me a confirmed aracnaphobist since birth, they look like (green) legs of a Tarantula. I can hardly type these words such is the revulsion and fear they inspire in me. I am scared to even look closely at this little pot of hairy legs and weird matter that probably comes from some real jungles of the world. They are after all tropical plants. Who knows if some daring creature in egg form or something hasn’t hitched a secret ride from the jungle to Suffolk with no one any the wiser? I could be harbouring something very much uglier than this lovely bloom and could find myself confronted with real (black) hairy legs and huge crouching body in the near future. The whole thing is too vile to contemplate further. Using a watering can with a long spout, I water it and hope nothing moves within.