wants and kneads

The engine of my mother’s old banger moaned as a narrow winding country lane pulled me up the steep green hillside.  Brief glimpses of an expansive English landscape were offered through holes in the hedge to my right.  A deep blue upper frame of sky made it astonishingly pretty, as my leisurely morning dog-walk had been.  I always forget its capacity to oxygenate, fill the heart: the width, scale, greenness and blue.  You deeply suck it up to remember, but always forget.

Now I was looking for a specific residential house scattered along the hillside, one without name which apparently sat at the end and base of one of these tight, sloping roads.  It could have been any of them.

I had a poor, printed map which Dad had given me.  Why did he still use crappy blotchy Multimap?  This was useless.

“Do you have that sheet with their address on?” Dad asked when I called up, still manfully working away at my car.

“Erm, no,” I said, now chastened by my own stupidity, sitting stationary, near the entrance to a farm.  “Forgot it.  Sorry.”

“Fucksake..” he replied, reasonably enough.

A few minutes later I stopped the car at the bottom of a track, as described.  But it still wasn’t with 100% confidence that I strode up the long garden path, noting giant children’s trampolines and that incredible panorama.  Was I about to intrude on the wrong person, the wrong house, ask for a sports massage from an unsuspecting, confused person?

A shiny bald, stocky, middle-aged man in a sporty polo neck sat alone in the large kitchen flicking through a newspaper, an old dog at his feet.  I knocked tentatively at the already ajar door.  Let this be the right house, please don’t kick my head in..

Stripping to almost nothing and allowing a hands-on massage from another male is uncomfortable.  But so is my back.  It was a professional looking medical room with all the kit and reassuring shelves of reference books.  And that view.  Under his spell those oiled fingers danced along glutes and muscles whose names instantly entered and left my head.  He squeezed and kneaded points spinal points which pranged, made me flinch and tighten, unlock and relax, explaining as he went.

I shot back to our village, collected my now roadworthy but still far from flawless vehicle, and headed out to betweeny City 2 for a meeting with old employers and current client.

A start-up company which I had entered as employee number five and left at roughly a dozen strong three years ago.  It had expanded, was now, finally in reasonable regular profit.  Hugh inspired mixed emotions: the initial engagement wasn’t without caution, although he had come good, paid promptly, been sound.

Approaching the doorway and pressing the intercom felt curious: déjà vu, a recurring dream.  I’d never expected to return here again.  Those qualms about moving backwards arose once more and I wondered if there isn’t a point when everything stops becoming linear and progressive.  If we travel in increasingly chaotic orbits that are impossible to discern.  Circumstance forces us to move back and shuffle sideways as much as to reach ahead and grasp newness.

“The Ghost Of Christmas Past,” I announced myself to a former colleague on the intercom.  He chuckled, the door buzzed and I walked up the familiar ragged steps.

After a board meeting with his team, Hugh and I lunched out in the town at an upmarket steakhouse.  We walked a good distance trying to find somewhere open and nice.  During this time he regaled long, tricky to follow professional biographies of high flyers in the industry, excited by his narrative and forgetting how it linked into his original point.  His haphazard conversational style mimicked inherently atrocious organisational skills that had made him maddening to work with.

We finally entered a swish new restaurant I remembered being a distinctly dodgy looking pub during my time here.  Thick curtains, a large glitterball, loud disco music pumping out, the feeling that nobody had been let in or out since about 1988.

Hugh confessed that he was desperately seeking an exit, a buyer for the company as he was keen to begin his new venture.  He’s been this way for a while.  We discussed overseas opportunities, the company’s new office, longshot dreams for me.  If he did open it tomorrow and needed a man on the ground I would gently drop all my clients and grab such an opportunity.  I strongly insinuated this leaning and he encouraged: “Hey mate, if this works, you never know.  I could help you out.  We could do something.”

He always was excellent at this: feeding hope, inspiring, talking a big game.  Spend enough time in his company and employment and you hear the same promises being repeated ad infinitum.  The company has now developed though, albeit not at a staggering rate of knots, and a few of these promises are finally being realised.  It’s anyone’s guess how many more will.

Our lunch ran on so it was later than planned that I knocked at my brother’s door, the other end of another quilted countryside drive.  He and his wife looked tired and saggy, but their three and a half year old son’s excitement always knocks me out.  Only dogs are this excited to see me.  He had a new bedroom he wanted to show off and it was little under two minutes before I was holding him upside down and burying him under soft toys.  Across the room, the permanently passive eight month old sat cross legged on the floor, silently bemused at our excitable play and my silly globbing goldfish faces.

We raced downstairs to watch Wallace and Gromit, learning en route of Gordon Brown’s resignation from a radio in the kitchen.

Still nervous of my vehicle’s robustness and sensing the shock absorbers might be next to pop, I drove back towards town.  Admiring romantic whispy evening clouds but saddened by the steady roadside transition from lurid bright yellows to lusty greens to darker greens to grey, I sunk.  A pressing desire to rejig living arrangements overwhelmed.  I wanted someone else to do it for me: point me in the right direction and push.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: