I can’t help myself: pretty much every morning when I wake up, I turn on my phone and check my emails. Rubbing the sleep away, squinting a little without my reading glasses, just connecting with the wide world to make sure I’m not missing anything important… Then I’ll proceed with my daily routine as usual.
This morning, an innocent photo image arrived from an old friend. He’s travelling with his wife in Europe, playing in the snow, wearing layers of clothes, while we back home swelter in 40+ degrees heat and bushfires.
It was like a small bomb detonated in my chest.
I began to sob; no thought, no delay, no control. Incredible. The power of the element of surprise hey?
I was soft, relaxed, as yet unguarded or prepared for my day. Interesting to realize later. So I just sat in bed and had a good cry; only lasted a few minutes. Then I replied with a thankyou, and asked permission to use the image for my blog. Here it is:
Bombs come in many shapes don’t they, in as many shapes as we do? This one was mine. One of Dad’s favourite places in Paris, a place he took us every time my brother and I came to visit from our home in England. His partner at the time worked there too, so I really thought she was the coolest woman ever! We called it the ‘inside out building’, and delighted in riding the escalators up to the top, simply to come back down again.
That building, the Centre Pompidou, represented all to me that I didn’t have in my life back then: innovation, creativity, colour and texture, libraries of images, word, sound from across the world… And all free to access. I remember feeling as though my head and heart expanded every time we went there.
No wonder I didn’t quite fit in at my small country school in Devon.
The ‘inside out building’ made me long to be different too; it encouraged me somehow, just standing there with its pipes and airducts on display, no shame in showing its construction and framework. It was strong, and simple. No airs. What you saw is what you got.
I sat on the bed and cried, not just for Dad, or his wonderful, favourite building. I cried a little for the complicated, checked/balanced/organised person I’ve necessarily become, managing a house and child and three jobs.
But it only takes a tiny black and white bomb to reveal to me my simplicity again, sitting there with my heart on display: a child who misses her Dad, and the wonder of the world he showed her.