Sunday, August 14, 2011

exploring the territory

It's all right for Emmett.   That is, he's home in the Los Angeles house he clearly knows as Home, and is exploring the newly painted terrace.   He's probably sniffing out the scent of the Interloper, a designer-cat, a Bengal kitty, called (according to the tag on her collar), Lyra.   This is so unbelievably pretentious (whether or not one bears in mind the small constellation that bears the name, or one of any number of lyre-like musical instruments), that we call this agile feral monster Spots.   However, Spots or no, he is delighted to be back here after two years away.

But for the new human inhabitant?   Certainly, I love the terrace, though probably for different reasons than Emmett - it can hardly remind him of Italy, for example (that is, when it turns the corner from this view, and is full of statues and plants).   There's a paradox I don't quite get about coming as far away from Europe as one can, to the Pacific Rim - and feeling more European than when one's much closer.   But away from the terrace?   It would be mendacious to say that I didn't feel apprehension and dislocation at facing new colleagues and new academic rituals tomorrow morning: if, in all the boxes and files and mis-filed bits of paper I could find the desolate couple of pages that I penned about arriving at St Paul's Girls' School when I was eleven, I should probably just type them up - the standing around on the platform at Earl's Court tube station, wondering wherever I should go for the train to Hammersmith; the sense that everyone else knew one another and knew where to go and what to do - where, for example, was Bute?   This was where we were, supposedly, going to play lacrosse (whatever that was).   But no one explained to the new girls, although I think that I was the only one of us who spent the whole of that class period locked in the lavatories, scared to come out - the smell of scorched sanitary towels and English cleaning fluids stays with me to this day.   Even in prayers, first thing in the morning - when did one kneel? when did one stand?   In quite the opposite places from my junior school, it would seem.   Oh, no wonder I hate being a new girl ...

No comments:

Post a Comment