Thursday, 9 July 2015

Alice

Released from an 8 x 12, barred and shuttered into a limiting world. I had made excuses early to escape. Today I had an appointment to collect my amber eyed princess from her country retreat. She had been away four slab grey days even with the sun  at its summer brightest.
Heading to the car the sun high in its mantle and my mind. A dry day’s dew dampening lip and forehead only a few steps from the air conditioned library. I’d felt a pang of guilt at my first attendance. Having been asked to suggest a prompt I had chosen the rather dull title ‘Driving in my Car'.

I headed out on the journey to collect Alice; wondering. I had done the same trip four days earlier with Alice on the back seat resting quietly, occasional murmurs silenced by soothing sounds of her sleeping. She slept softly snuffles sounding. I drove along the arid ash grey asphalt nervous of a wrong turning focused firmly on my ‘A’ road notes and missing anything interesting on the way.

This time I was more relaxed as I had done the trip before, but some nerves still existed bubbling in my chest. It had been four days. Alice had no doubt been thoroughly spoilt. I knew they had planned lots of special activities for her when she arrived. I hoped she’d be pleased to see me, but I felt unsure. In my wildest imaginings I would never be able to provide the same levels of opportunity and luxury that they could.

Familiarity with the trip meant I was able to look about more and to be truthful I needed too. The worry about how my ebony haired beauty would react on seeing me again was in danger of becoming overwhelming. 'Come on man! Enjoy the bloody drive!'

There were extremes of England along the way and it was fascinating. The ebb of modern and flow of traditional England. The stoic glass and steel edifices of Milton Keynes to the twee and gentle ancient and aged in villages like Wing. The sight that released my mind from the purgatory of worry hove into view fewer than ten miles from my destination. I caught sight briefly of a deep rich red splash against the bright blue sky. Then again, and again. Each time moving gently across my line of sight. Beautiful graceful powerful gentle soaring  gliding effortless Kites. Red Kites; sun bursting through vermilion feathers I was in thrall. I had never seen one in nature and here there were half a dozen at least commanding the sky and overseeing there kingdom.

I slowed to keep them in view longer; craning under the prow of the windscreen, I was overtaken by the thought that it made sense for mythic goddesses to have red hair and blue eyes when you could feel the impact of the flamed feathers against a clear cobalt canopy, Botticelli was right to drape Venus in terracotta tresses against the sea and sky of sad sapphire..
I lost sight of the Kites as the car rolled down the hill; the final half mile to my destination, but they had taken my mind away from my nervous anticipation of seeing my gorgeous girl. I’d arrived, the journey so much shorter than before. I parked up and made my way to reception. They were expecting me. One quick call to her room and a young woman came out to escort me. My mouth felt dry my brow again damp my heart skipping just a little I wondered if she’d missed me as I had missed her.

The girl opened the door and called out to her, 'Alice! Your ride has arrived'.
Then I heard the clatter of feet on the polished floor. She burst through the door and leapt into my open arms, kissing me in her unique way.
I was so happy to have my beautiful black Labrador back.