I go into my kitchen, here in the Midlands. My empty coffee cup is on the table. I pick it up and frown at the rings it leaves behind. I put the cup in the sink, next to the stainless steel pot scrubber. Someone else will wash it up, I think. I poke a finger at the lettuce seedlings on the windowsill. I glance over my shoulder. The rubber-toy alligators on the dresser next to the box of matches stare back at me. I bend to scoop up a clothes-peg from under the table, my hand catching against the missing bottom half of my lucky matryoshka. I re-assemble her and give her bald head a pat. I put away the porridge oats. I straighten the spoons. I think of lunch. I pick out the largest potato in the vegetable rack. Then I check the pasta twirl situation, just in case.
I sit down at the kitchen table, paper before me, HB pencil in hand. I sharpen my pencil, once, twice, three times. I listen. I hear a blackbird, and then a siren, and another.
I pick up my pencil and I write the words, “One day, many years from now, when I was a child.” And as I do so silence falls, almost as if everything has stopped mid-