By Lindsay Bamfield
She is tired. Tired like never before. Not the tiredness of the new mother waking at her baby’s every snuffle or insomnia from the pain of swollen breasts when the baby is sleeping at last.
She remembers those years but they’re long gone. This tiredness is all enveloping. Her blood thickly oozes in her arteries clogging her energy.
She opens the front door and steps out. She hesitates for a moment at leaving her responsibilities but then walks without thinking where she is going. Guilt enshrouds her like a cloud of summer midges but she plods on.
She reaches the alleyway and heads down the narrow footpath bordered by high fences separating it from suburban gardens.
She emerges opposite the lake. Here is a space for nature where trees dip feathery branches into the water. She listens to the cries of birds arguing. Flocks fly overhead making for their roosting places. A few ducks still swim but they too are preparing for the night.
She finds a bench and sits to rest and watch the sun on its downward journey casting a golden glow over the western sky. She catches a fleeting delicate perfume but cannot identify its source.
She breathes in and it feels as if this air is new, never used before. She recalls lessons about trees breathing out oxygen so perhaps it really is. A breeze ruffles the water. She can’t remember when she last gave herself up to nature’s embrace. Its sights, sounds, smells and sensations. She wants to taste it too.
It’s getting dark and she realizes too much time has passed. She must go home to what awaits her. She rises and takes one last look at the lake. She tells herself she can return. Her steps are a little faster on the way back, perhaps with urgency to resume her responsibilities, perhaps because her energy has been replenished.
Her husband looks at her when she enters the room. ‘Who are you?’ he says, as he says every time he sees her, no matter how brief her absence.
She tells him as she always does. For a moment he is silent and all is well, then his frightened confused anger erupts. As she tries to pacify him, she recalls the lake, the birds, the sweet scent and the breeze caressing her and knows this is what will comfort her during her long sleepless night.
* * *
Lindsay Bamfield moved to Australia from UK in 2019. She writes short stories and flash fiction and non-fiction articles. She is currently also working on a novel. She has been published in a number of magazines, anthologies and literary websites including Dress You Up, (New Lit Salon Press, USA) Yours, Hysteria 6 Anthology, Stories for Homes 2, and Mslexia,
In 2016, Lindsay edited Finchley Remembered II for The Finchley Society, a second volume of local people’s recollections.
In 2009, she co-founded a successful writing group in North London which ran for several years, and co-organized five small but highly successful literary festivals from 2012-16 (The Finchley Literary Festival.)