I finally seize a moment to sit at the lap top and as usual, the phone rings. It’s Someone. Asking me what I’m up to today. They don’t mention It. Although they know about It. The Someones have always known about It. But It is for pleasure, isn’t it? So It doesn’t count.
I’m not given chance to reply, because… They’ve just spent two hours on hands and knees cleaning their skirting boards from top to bottom. An hour defrosting the freezer and getting soaked into the bargain. Then another hour risking life and limb up a ladder dusting the cornicing in the sitting room. It was only done a week ago. “It never stops! Where does it all come from?!” they shriek, sounding more threatening than rhetorical. Not forgetting heroic. Always heroic.
A lull. My turn. Cue an intake of breath accompanied by a sharp wave of prickly heat to the face.
Only, of course, it took me three hours on hands and knees. Not only that but the have -done, going- to- do and going- to-do-after-that-list multiplies with each passing second. Plus the basket of ironing is staring at me like a neglected pet, and threatening to take over the bedroom like a scene from The Day of The Triffids. That will take another three. The cornices will have to wait until first light at this rate. And that’s only if I can jump from a stool up into the loft to retrieve the ladder without breaking a leg. But would risk it for the cornices.
“It never stops! Where does it all come from?” I shriek down the phone. I was good.
Of course, Someone could not know. That It and I had spent the whole morning together. And it was bliss. That the urge to be with It was uncontrollable. And actually, if I had my way, every day would be like that. We understood each other, It and I. It and I were in love. It and I. I and It. An item.
The pretence was fun. At first. Then everything changed. I got tired, felt unclean. And a word I never thought I would ever have to use began to haunt me.
Illicit because of the lies. Lies that just rolled off the tongue. Feigned excuses all so I could stay at home alone with It. Stolen moments in the study. Always with the door locked. It had to finish.
So I asked myself. Where had It come from? Who had actually named It, ‘It?’
We talked, It and I. We had no future. There were tears, but It was let down gently. It and I said goodbye.
Now It is work. Work is allowed. And life is good. The “Someones” of whom there are many, are happy. Happy and sometimes a bit proud. Interested. They ask about work. Ask about submissions. And they know that because I have worked and some lovely, kind and generous people whom I will thank until eternity, have liked my work, I am lucky enough to receive invitations to submit. I am given deadlines to complete the work. Which I keep to, religiously because it’s my work and I want more of it. Then, when the send button gets pressed, as every writer knows, work starts all over again. Because it has to. We have to. Say goodbye to your It. It is work. And it’s allowed.