On Thursday the Boss came back from a mid term visit with the father. She flung the door back and advanced; bags discarded in the hall, coat draped carelessly on the stairs, shoes left muddy and separated across the tiles, reclaiming most of the available space. In the kitchen she pulled out saucepans, vegetables, ingredients for one of her fantastically nutritious low fat super meals, talking, talking, talking. I could hear her from the living room where I had taken refuge with the lovely book, saved up for this week. Beached on the sofa, taking a midterm myself in the silence.
Later, when I went looking for tea in the kitchen, she had reeled in more girls to keep her company as she eat. It was all animation and exclamation marks. The spinning of plans and logistics for a party later, a film to see, a secret hair dip-dyeing to be done for the party later, snapchat groupchats running on separate tracks.
I caught the Boy's eye, as he beat a hasty path though bags belongings and girls, coming from the garden into all this dizzying gaiety, unexpected. He and I had lived together for the days of the bosses absence in orderly quiet, he doing his thing and I playing at being solitary. Except, that is, for little chats from time to time about the war in Syria, Trump's latest tweet, the Boy's views on the Norman invasion of Ireland and possible alien sightings reported on the internet. The discovery of TRAPPIST _ 1, a star and seven planets revealed in its shadows. That kind of thing.
Still, he was kinda glad to see her he said. He was used to her, he told me. Yeah, so was I. Also torn, (between amusement and irritation) as I watched her expanding vastly into her own reclaimed space. That was all of us then, on mid- term in our cave.
I think of all those people homeless, or fighting a grim and savage battle with banks to stop the house they shelter in being taken, snatched like a snail shell ripped clean from soft tissue. Adrift in the world with no home to go to.
THE BATTLE OF david AND GOLIATH
You see them in this year of Our Lord 2017, as banks go at home repossessions with a vengence, fighting, the light of manic battle in their eyes, grimly negotiating SFS forms, deals, court appearances. Small, pared to the bone, they stand alone against the impervious strengths of banks and corporations. Backs against their own front doors, facing outward. Fighting a battle they can't afford to loose.
And still you loose, sometimes you loose. I sat with a woman holding a letter from a Sheriff, who told me 'still an all she was kind of glad it was over'.
"There's like a stay, to organise ourselves with another place, it says" she said, (softly)
"So, I mean, there is no other place. Rents cost more than Mortgages? But you know what? Its all right. It's all fine. I am...we are all tired. I only want it to be over".
She smiled obliquely as she said goodbye. She hardly disturbed the air as she went, leaving you haunted, wondering with no way of knowing. And nothing to be done.
That was after I read about a man found hanging on the end of a rope in the barn of his repossessed farm, his children coming on him in the morning when they went to look for eggs.
"He couldn't bear the thought the children wouldn't live here anymore, sure" his wife said afterwards. "He fought and fought the bank, and then last week the fight went out of him"
She tried to get him talking about starting over, but she couldn't reach him. Until the night before, when he was happy again, relieved almost, talking fast and optimistic, putting everyone to bed, his arm warm around her as she drifted off to sleep. After that he must have gone out to the barn...
The failure in us to understand and protect the human need for the cave, the warm dark space behind the locked front door, is profound, dangerous. Unforgivable.