13) Writer’s Block
March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
It is at times like these that I let my mind wander back to those days. I look away from my computer screen, letting my head fall back over the top of my chair so my face is parallel to the white ceiling. My eyelids close and the four blank walls around me dissolve away.
My hands shrink and my body grows small and clammy. I am barefoot and can feel the hot hardness of stone on the soles of my feet. I am naked apart from a hat that my mother has clamped onto my head as she blows smoke into my face from a cigarette dangling at the side of her mouth. I see myself in the refection of her huge dark sunglasses. I am five, with squinting blue eyes and a wild hatred of hats. My mother pats me on the bottom as an indication to go away and I happily jump from rock to rock, arms outstretched either side of me for balance.
“He’s going to fall,” I hear my mother’s friend Sally say from the red towel she has stretched her tiny body across. I clench my fists. Sally obviously doesn’t know how good I am at jumping rocks and she doesn’t know that I am going to be an adventurer one day. Sally knows nothing.
“No he’s not.” I hear my mother reply and then the pop of a wine cork. I am finally not an object for their attention.
We call it a beach, like ‘last weekend we went to the beach’, but it’s not really a beach because there is no sand. The ground is made up of smooth rocks which reach the sea then drop down to an ocean cliff. My mother won’t let me jump in but I know that one day I will and I’ll go explore right down to the bottom where fishes look like monsters.
I don’t miss the sand because I get something better: rock pools. Tiny oceans between every rock, just waiting to be explored. I keep jumping, expertly, until I reach my favourite pool. It’s over to the left of my mother’s towel, just under a huge boulder that looks like a table for a giant. It’s deep and always full of crabs and mussels and little sticky insects that run too fast to catch. I kneel down, the rocks pressing into my knees, indenting my skin, and reach a hand either side of the pool. I lift my weight on to my arms and pull myself off my hunkers so I am right over the miniature seaworld, able to see everything, like God.
I hear my mother’s laugh echo around the boulder. It’s loud and shrill and makes me jump. My hand slips and plunges into the rock pool, splashing salt water onto my lips. A crab appears from the shadows, red and flat and frowning. He scurries away, over another rock, disappearing into a tiny cave and I wish I could follow. But I can’t.
Because I am here, sitting at my computer, trying to write something that won’t reveal itself to me. It is hidden away, like a creature in a rock pool. I am hoping that it is there, waiting in the damp dark to pounce up at me with fists. I hope I am not just staring at some bare pool of water, full of empty seaweed shadows and a beer can ring pull.
I go and make lunch because I am tired of waiting.