I’ll be needing some light

by ericavanhorn

8 June Wednesday

The woman went into the toilet that was just across the narrow corridor from where we were sitting. There were three other people besides myself. We were on chairs waiting to be called for an X-ray. The woman closed the door and then she opened the door. She closed the door again and then she opened it again. She closed it for longer and then for a shorter time. We all watched. She was hoping and expecting a light to go on inside. She stuck her head out the door and announced to us all: “I’ll be needing some light in here to be doing what I need to be doing.”

9 June Thursday

There is a dead rodent underneath the bird feeders. It is too small to be a rat. It might be a mouse. It is probably a shrew. The head is missing. The black cat from the farm is sitting on the wall nearby. He may have been the killer but he does not seem interested to eat whatever it is. It makes me question his hunger. He is scrawny. His neck is extremely thin. He looks desperate and starving even on a good day. If he is as hungry as he looks, he would eat that rodent.

21 June Tuesday

When Frankie answers the telephone he does not say hello. Nor does he say his name. He says “Well.” It is not a question. It is just the word, followed by the wait for whatever comes next. He also says this as a greeting when he meets someone. He snaps his head in a sharp little nod and he says, “Well.” He is not the only person who says hello like this.

23 June Thursday

Ferns are falling. They are weighed down by themselves. They are making the boreen more narrow by the day. Maybe it is the rain that is making them drop.

24 June Friday

The black cat comes down from the farm at regular intervals throughout the day. If I look out the door, he crouches on the path and catches my eye. I know he is hungry and he knows that I know he is hungry. Sometimes I put a few scraps out on a dish. He runs away when I step outside but as soon as the door is closed he returns and gobbles whatever is on offer.

25 June Saturday

Creena was driving past the church. She crossed herself when her car was directly in front of the church. She always crosses herself when passing any church. This morning she was driving and crossing herself and taking a left turn for the shop all at the same time. Then she saw another car coming towards her and she waved to the person in the car. She was not certain who it was in the other car, but she knew that not waving would reflect badly on her if it was someone she knew and someone she failed to acknowledge. She always salutes everyone just as she always crosses herself on passing a church. She was waving and driving and crossing herself and turning all with the same two hands. I watched from my parked position. Everything happening at the exact same time. I marveled that there was no collision.

26 June Sunday

Mickey responds with hearty agreement when someone says something that meets with his approval. He declares : “NOW you have it!” with the emphasis on the word NOW. He slaps his leg whenever he says it.

27 June Monday

People are dressing for summer because it is summer. There are people walking around in sleeveless dresses and shorts and T-shirts. Bare legs and sandals. We are wearing sweaters most of the time. Sometimes the sweaters are cotton but often they are heavy woolen sweaters. Every evening we consider lighting a fire in the wood stove.  It is not warm and it is not sunny and it does not feel like summer. There has been a lot of rain. Every conversation includes rain. Before the rain. After the rain. During the rain. The sound of rain. The threat of rain. The promise of rain. The clearing of the rain. Heavy rain. Light rain. Drizzles and downpours and desperate lashing. It is cold and it is wet. It does not feel like summer. It is disheartening and bleak. We might have a few hours of bright sky and sun but then it rains again. 6 or 7 or 10 times a day. It is impossible to do much outside because it has always rained recently so everything is wet. The garden is bright and green with weeds and growth.

28 June Tuesday

I am keeping an eye on my gooseberries. The branches are heavy with fruit. It is a yearly contest. I need to be ready for the moment when the berries are ripe and hope that I notice their readiness before the birds find out.

29 June Wednesday

I visited Tommy yesterday. His knee is painful and he can only walk with a stick. Sometimes he uses two sticks. He wants to go to town to do some errands. He and I have been discussing this trip to town since before Christmas. I do not think that he can manage walking around in Dunnes’ Store but he is determined to go there. He also wants to visit the men’s clothing store. He wants to buy himself a pair of new trousers and two new sweaters. We have made a date for next Tuesday. I am to check in with him on Monday to see if he feels Able For The Outing. Already I am worried about dropping him at the door of a shop while I go to park the car and then rush back to locate and assist him. He told me that his electric kettle is broken and that he is using an old and dangerous one that he found in a cupboard. The substitute kettle does not turn itself off when the water has boiled. It just keeps boiling and boiling until the plug is pulled out of the wall socket. He has already dropped it once because the handle got too hot to hold. He wondered if Dunnes’ Stores would take it back and replace it even though he has no receipt and the kettle is at least twelve years old. This morning I took him an spare kettle that we had here. I had tested it to make certain that it was safe. This made him happy. I too was happy knowing that he will not be dropping boiling water down his legs when what he needs and wants is a cup of tea.

30 June Thursday

Farms keep cats around to keep the rodent population down. These cats are not pets. They are usually inbred so they not the smartest cats. The idea is to keep the cats hungry so that they will be eager and efficient hunters. I should not feed the black cat when he comes roaming but I cannot help myself. He is so thin. He will eat anything I put in the dish. He eats pasta and vegetables and cheese. He eats things that I do not expect a cat to eat. He sits for hours under the bird feeders waiting for the possibility that a bird might drop to the ground. He stretches out on the table where I keep the water dish for the birds. I doubt that he believes he will catch a bird but when I put out bread crumbs for the birds he is the first one there to eat them. I know that if I give him a name I will be committed to this animal.  For now, he is just The Black Cat.