Hermit in the Hall of Mirrors: Chapter 5

Sheltered and exposed at the same time, Arielle perched on her chair like a swami at the dinner table, both legs folded under her. A friend had told her once about a postural diagnosis technique based on observing the way that a person sat down in a chair. The friend had gone on to point out that, based on observation of her sideways, four-legged approach to the chair, her diagnosis would be “patient is in fact a cat”.

The rain pattered light-heartedly all around, for the air was warm and still and this was not a storm, just a freshen up. She could see and sense the sunshine behind the rain clouds, watching on with care and encouragement as they showered their life-sustaining gifts on the world below. The wide open sides of the kitchen welcomed in all weathers, all seasons and all comers – offering always the shelter of a warm hearth.

Mrs Pepperpot purred determinedly in her lap, pulling rank for the warmest spot whilst several of the other cats were perched about the place in variously soggy states, waiting it out. Arielle was not waiting it out, she was inviting it in. There were spaces in her heart that felt dusty and dank. The sparkling freshness of the raindrops permeated her rusting armour and leaked in cool rivers down to those forgotten places. She sat and opened and felt the rain. Loved it, imbibed it into her soul, remembered it.

Her heart was like a busy railway hub with constant arrivals and departures. There were multitudes forever passing through: trailing chocolate wrappers and cigarette butts, moving too fast and too early in the day, charged on coffee, arriving late, lingering over leaving, making connections, missing them. It never closed, though in the quiet moments she could clearly see the muddy footprints and forgotten baggage left behind and set to work sweeping out the space.


…to be continued

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