Lifesaving Lines: Autumn, by Roo Borson

We have a lot of windows. I sit next to them at this time of the year thinking, Just five more minutes of daylight, please. In the summer, when the weather visits Madrid for a couple of weeks, they become weapon again, and we shutter them up to keep ourselves cool.

Shuffling round the block with the dog around five, I peer into the lives of my neighbours, before they also move shutters towards the darkness. The black panes. Our lives reflected back to us, our reflections keeping out the gaze of those who look in.

‘Goodbye, insects.’ ‘Goodbye, marigolds’. ‘Trains hurtle by at the edge of cities’. ‘Hollow casings’. These are the lines I am taking with me as we, too, hurtle, into the darkness. The grief, the one I thought I had placated or mislaid, returns, puts on the kettle, makes itself at home in the gloomy kitchen.

Something is bubbling on the stove. She always had something bubbling on the stove. Just the sight of the ring of blue gas brings me to tears. Later, the wine drunk and the day spoken of, I manage three pages of my book before my eyelids closing like a prison guard in a black and white caper. ‘The slicing of bread and meat’. Her way of doing that. Her chatter while she did it. ‘Life goes on’.


  1. I love the way this blog entry leads me to places I had forgotten and am heart-warmed to return to, and then also to places I never knew. You always create a magical network of references — and here that phrase ‘the black panes’ suddenly becomes completely luminous (though I KNOW that word is horribly over-used in book blurbs).

    Liked by 1 person

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