Writing me Down

Thursday, March 30, 2006

25 Feb 06 – Hilda (Day School Exercise creating a character from a list of objects)

Hilda straightened up, eased her aching back, and reached for yet another tissue.

“Damn cold,” she mumbled, plying the tissue with frozen fingers. She blew her nose loudly, then shoved the tissue into her bulging pocket. Her hands were covered in mud, with dirt under her fingernails and around the cuticles. It lined the creases in the flesh of her hands. She rubbed them on her faded green chords. As she did so, she felt something hard bang against her thigh. The creases on her forehead deepened as she pulled out the key fob and looked down at the photo. After a few seconds, she placed it carefully back in her pocket and bent slowly back down to the potatoes.

An hour later, in her kitchen, she stripped off her dripping coat before limping into the bedroom. Painfully she eased her aching body out of the chords and aran jumper, and towelled her frozen skin before dressing in tweed skirt, tank top and blouse. She pulled on her flowery apron and headed for the warmth of the kitchen. Ignoring the dog lead hanging by the door, she opened the cupboard and took down the flour.

“I’ll bake you some Florentine cake,” she said firmly. “You’ve always liked that.” She picked up her glasses from the kitchen table and leafed through a file of shabby handwritten pages. Unwinding the rubber band from the packet of flour, she tipped some into the mixing bowl, then reached for the eggs in the basket on the side. As she did so, her foot brushed against the empty dog basket. She stopped, reached for another tissue, and blew her nose.

The gravel crunched as a car pulled up outside, and Hilda threw the tissue in the bin, wiped her floury hands down her apron and leaned to look out of the window.

The first thing that she saw was the black-and-white terrier puppy in her daughter’s arms.


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