I spent most of last night propped up in a chair in the sitting room, lungs burning and fighting to get a decent breath. I couldn't sleep properly. I could only drift for short periods. I travelled far though. I travelled beyond Australia, to a place where everyone swam in total darkness and communicated by tapping their fingers on what I imagined, was tiny drum-like instruments. As yet, I don't know what this night journey was all about. Maybe I'll never find out, but maybe I will.
"Sometimes to make a difference you have to go on a journey you never expected to take... The journey being the point and not the destination... Be the change you want to see." - Barbara Haddrill.
"First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win."
Gonzo Notes From A Cold Step In Appledore
There will always be a perimeter:
a place where the weak will be pushed and forsaken.
Or a corner where one will not be noticed as much
as any new arrival in the pack.
As a kid I sat on many a cold step -
It all started outside our own back door.
I'd be put out there 'til I stopped crying...
and I didn't always know why I cried.
As I'd sit out there, on the step, sobbing,
I'd hear laughter and talking from inside.
I was sure that everyone was laughing at me.
I felt as if I was the outsider.
After a while, the door became my shield.
It was solid, green and reliable.
I could lean against it and gain support.
I had no fear of it bursting open.
That old back door would never let me down.
Once, I stood up and kicked it damned hard,
but it didn't make any difference.
It absorbed my frustrations and stood firm.
Even now, the sounds of muffled laughter
can make my blood run cold. Never,
I'll never shake off those old memories.
I'll always be the one who's looking in.
I can sit on any icy step and
get some comfort out of doing just that.
On a cold step, with my back to a door ...
Yep, it was as good as it got for me, then.
But lately, I've been thinking about things:
about them Pearly Gates. Will they open
when I get to rest my back against them?
Maybe I'll just have to look through the bars.
"Leaving is the hardest part." - Barbara Haddrill.
Photograph by Linda Shaddick.