Walking Away

I walked away into the garden. I shoved my arms into the sleeves of my coat, didn’t even bother to change my slippers for shoes, and I walked away. Into the cold sunlight, the breeze catching my hair and throwing it in my face.

Like so much else has been thrown in my face.

I didn’t walk far – I just sat on the edge of the slide and looked up at the pale blue sky, and then down at the green grass, the weeds that seem to start growing before anything else. The daffodils trying to decide whether it was sunny enough to open. I had left shoes and coat for Little Person on the sofa, with the offer that I was outside if she needed me.

She didn’t need me. She needed to shout and tantrum and rage against the world. She appeared at the French doors, stuck her head out.

“I’m not coming outside, Mummy! I’m not!”

She didn’t wait for a reply. I sat on the slide until I couldn’t hear her shouting anymore. She was upset because she couldn’t get the thoughts from her brain onto the page. She was upset because sometimes even her mother makes mistakes. I had thought that showing her that I had to cross things out when I wrote, too, would be a good thing. But it sent her into a tailspin. And so I walked away, because there was nothing I could say.

I walked away, and I sat on the edge of the slide, and I watched the breeze catch the leaves. I have, in recent seasons, walked away from many things, many people. Sometimes because my being there would set off unpleasant events, sometimes because I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes. Most recently, because apparently I’m not worth the effort.

(I am so worth the effort. And actually, if you think I’m an effort, you have the wrong perspective.)

I walked back inside, and found Little Person lying on the sofa, tucked under one of her baby blankets – her feet sticking out the bottom. Eyes red, cheeks blotchy, the bubble of a teardrop wobbling precariously on her cheek.

“I’m cold, Mummy.”

I tucked another blanket around her, and fed her some oranges. Presently, she pulled herself around and tucked herself under my arm. I watched the people walking past our window, the breeze catching the leaves.

It’s a new season. No more walking away. It’s time to take care of what matters.


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