Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ghost, Coal Bucket, Silver Button

There was a definite atmosphere in the old-fashioned parlour - except there was nobody there to feel it. The ancient TV seemed dead in one corner, but the huge wireless set in another corner was lit up like a cruise ship, tuned to a gap between stations, a gap that added a hiss to the atmosphere.
A ghost was sitting in a third corner like someone's grandmother used to sit there, and indeed the hiss had clacking knitting-needles added to it. An atmosphere gradually being DROWNED in SOUND.
On the floor was a glint - and the ghost bent to pick it up, intending to add it to the woollen waistcoat she was knitting, to see if the silver button suited it, to appraise its position for sewing it on, given the materials.
There were many shadows in the parlour, although the light-bulb hanging from the ceiling rose was not switched on. There was, you see, sufficient glow from the hissing wireless to set shadows free. But one dark shape in the fourth corner was not a shadow at all; it was a coal bucket beside the companion set that looked like a man in armour with the shovel, brush and tongs hanging behind it, glinting, too, from the wireless glow. The bucket's hills of nuggets were of a blacker black than itself, those hills themselves setting free their own shadows against the chintzy wallpaper.
A pity there was still nobody there to soak in the atmosphere, and now even the ghost had been SUBSUMED by the GLOOM, absorbing, indeed, its own human shadow like dark blood. The ghost was now so impersonal, it could no longer be called 'she', no longer someone's grandmother. And without her, there could be no hope of anybody to remember what or who had been there.
The TV screen stayed jet black with no ghosting double-images. The wireless dead, too, now, having sailed away into its own past, cruising the island memories of nobody. Casting on, casting off, casting on, casting off, to the sound of silent needles. Its captain castaway without his silver button.

No comments: