Since moving here my son has discovered an aptitude for climbing out of my bedroom window and sitting on the apex of the kitchen roof below. Probably not his best trick or my finest parenting hour, but I admire his confidence in his agility and his freedom. So I don’t stop him from doing it. Even though I probably should.
Last night I tried to sleep, I’d spent all day nursing a hangover of head-splitting epic proportions. When I eventually peeled myself off the sofa, which was surrounded by half-drunk mugs of tea and Quality Street wrappers, I went upstairs. Head pounding. Waves of nausea crashing over me every time I bent over. ‘I’m never drinking again’ I’d messaged my mate. Yeah right.
Sleep didn’t really come despite how many times I’d beckoned its welcoming embrace. Rain clattered on the lean-to on and off all night, like thousands of tiny pebbles. I can never sleep when it rains. I love the sound of it. The bedroom window was open and I could hear my cat in the garden, protecting her territory from other cats. They fought. And wailed. She jumped in through the window scattering the mess I’d left on the windowsill from the night before. Hair gunk, moisturiser, mascara, mirror. All the essentials for getting ready for a night out. Anticipation, glamour. Imagining the night ahead. The morning after they lose their sheen. Dress laying in a crumpled heap on the floor. Normality restored.
I had a vague sense that in the night my cat had sent the mirror flying out of the window to settle on the lean-to roof below. She had. We’d both had a restless night.
I leaned out of the window and stared at it. Glinting silver with rainwater on the plastic roof sheeting. Could I do without a mirror until Wednesday, when chimney sweep wise I could send my young son down to retrieve it? He’d think that was cool.
No, I’d get it myself. See what he sees, do what he does. It’s a small window. I managed to get through the opening and sit on the ledge. My frame filling the window frame. The roof tiles were slimy to my bare feet. I ungraciously managed to get out and stand on the slanting roof, hanging onto a heating pipe for balance as I leaned forward to grab the mirror. I hurled it through the window and on to the bed. Then sat on the window ledge looking across my neighbour’s gardens. Rectangular patches neatly laid out next to each other, row after row. An insight into other people’s lives.
I got it now. Why my son likes sitting up here. You can see so much and you feel ever so slightly naughty. I breathed in the rain-chilled air. Noticed my neighbour’s bike – I’ve never seen him ride a bike. He’s got a small vegetable patch too. All the familiar looks different from up here. Change your perspective and you see different angles, look at things in a different way. Up high, looking down. Viewpoints upended. I squeezed back through into my bedroom. I should do that sort of thing more often.