On Walking: Tuesday 24th February

The wind is cold, strong. It flips up my dress, pulls my hair from its pins, boxes my face. The dogs and I jump the ditch, cross into Dave’s field. The sun gleams in a line along the beaten mud of the footpath. I eschew its slippery promises of speed, take to the margins.

‘So will I live, so grow, so die,’ I say. I push my way through the secret passage, stumbling, as I’m trying to read my phone, and I’m not looking where I’m going.

No one can hear me out here but sheep across the Sor; which is good, as I’m saying the same words over and over, with different inflections. I accost an alder, and tenderly swear, by Cupid’s strongest bow, that we shall elope tomorrow. Pants play-barks into the wind, as if shouting bonkers, bonkers.

My hair is blinding me in the wind, so I sneak up to the fallen oak, heave myself up and anchor my hair behind my ears. I stare fiercely at my phone.

‘Help me, Lysander, help me!’

I’m impeaching the uncaring sky, the February trees. The latter are heedless, shivering despite their green-ivy leg-warmers. ‘You are not nigh,’ I say, sadly. ‘Not nigh.’ Dora leaps up beside me, as if to comfort.

Last night, I went to the first rehearsal of the play I’m in: the village production of Midsummer’s Night Dream. I haven’t stood on a stage since school, and I had completely forgotten the agony of learning lines. I am to play Hermia, who is a young lover and about fifteen. I shall lose a stone and tape up my 35 year old face. ‘Perhaps,’ suggested a friend. ‘Botox might be an option?’

And although it was the Old School, and not a stage at all, I still had that awful sick feeling that comes from acting in public: the thundering pulse, the sweat in the small of my back.

‘You mustn’t gabble,’ instructs our sprite of a Director.

My words came out wrong, my knees popped when I crashed down on them before Theseus. But in amongst the cringeing and the the botchedness, there was a glory to be had here. An echo of a self once remembered.

I was once as brave and strong as any young lover, with a narrow waist and hair that brushed the floor if I bent my back. I fought tooth and nail for the best parts in any play about which I heard. I scrapped for Nancy; Lady Macbeth, boring old Cordelia, and Sweet Miss Charity, who got kidnapped by handsome Indians (and shoulder-carried by savage Nev, crying ‘you beast, you beast!’).

That cast-iron confidence, the utter certainty that I’d be good and loved, has long since rusted away. Sometimes, it’s as much as I can do to meet the eyes of a neighbour, or mutter hello at the school gates.

Sitting on my log, I hunch down from the wind; imagine the expression  I would need in a clinch with Lysander. ‘Oh hell! to choose love by another’s eyes!’ I raise a hand, purpled with cold, gesture with despair at a field of wind-torn rape.

Then I realise I can still do it. In the middle of an Oxfordshire field, in freezing February and sat on a long-dead log, I can still believe I’m Athenian royalty, adored by a man called Lysander. And if I can believe it, and the rest of the cast can believe it, then perhaps that magic might happen, the magic known by any actor and that I remember: the audience might, too.

 

Dream script

Author: mrscarlielee

Country housewife. Mother. Writer. Wearer of frocks with wellies. Loves Dancing, Frivolity and Good Books. Blog at https://mrscarlielee.wordpress.com/ Tweet @MrsCarlieLee Website: www.thecountryhousewife.com

8 thoughts on “On Walking: Tuesday 24th February”

    1. Titania! I’d quote some of your lines, but I’ve only got minxy Hermia’s. Was so terrifying just reading out loud, such huge admiration for you proper lot – can’t wait to see your scenes, and what’s this I hear about Oberon’s huge…erm…muscles?!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My fav line is “Methought I was enamoured with an ass” poor Bottom he is always the butt of my jokes! I know where you’ve heard about Oberon from that our “sprite”, she does rather enjoy working with all these “young men”.

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  1. Thank you Carlie, I love reading your posts, you have such a good command of words, you are so poetical and you make me dream… shall we meet sometime? Christiane

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    1. Hey Christiane! How lovely to read your comment, thank you. Would you like to go to the pub one night? And Vanessa too, if she’d like to? And Debra, if you’re reading this – up for it?

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  2. Go girl! Immense bravery and huge respect from me. I’m on the sound desk for the Young Farmers tonight – definitely out of my depth. Taking deep breaths aleady.

    Liked by 1 person

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