Tag Archives: life

In and out

FelicityFox
The nurses huddle around their station clasping their cups, nattering quietly. In and out, the sound of her breath; still and rhythmic as her bird’s chest moves up and down. Watching and waiting. Silence descends. I hold on to every breath, willing her to take another, in and out. Her chest rises and falls, slowly pushing up again, holding on.

Round and round I go outside the washhouse at 46b Storrie Street, just below the flats, where houses are built on houses. Not like ours, where there is no sharing. The green lawn is stretched out in a square stopping from tenement to tenement, each are dark and grey. The concrete slabs in the middle of the green, away from the shadows of the trees is a perfect flat patch for riding.

“Again Rose, again, that’s it.”
“Hold the bars straight, straighten up will you or you’re going to fall.”

Even then she was old; widowed. She was on her own. She wasn’t from these parts, her pursed lips and quick words gave it away. Her wool skirt sat below her knees, she wore sensible brown court shoes, the kind grannies wear, and her Arran cardigan hugged her broad shoulders. She was stronger than any of the others. She had more secrets. Her hands grabbed the seat as she pushed me off on the path as the wind slapped my face. I steered into it, again and again. Clasping the handlebars and trying to steer, not to fall under the weight of the heavy, thick metal bars. She’d bought it from the shop. Her shop where she unpacked and re-shelved the bags left on the doorstep. The bike belonged to another. The seat was too high, but I’d get good use out of it, and the wheels, a little stiff, Dad would oil these. The colour wasn’t mine either.

“Her breathing is getting heavy, Mum.”
Long and slow, she clung on. Mum can’t hear me as she’s watching hers. Holding every breath, in and out, I follow her lead, waiting for the next exhalation. It’s slow and hard to hold on as I gasp to follow her. In and out, she slowly makes it like the one before. I’ve never listened this intently or waited this patiently. I’ve never held her. Curled in the bed, she lies to one side. Small and frail, and waiting. Her hands clasp under her head with beads entwined around her fingers. Her long limbs tucked beneath her and her broad shoulders huddle into her chest. Her hips poke from beneath the white sheets, while the monitors bleep in and out. A drip hangs from her vein and she clasps what’s hidden in her hand. She’s waiting and when I call her name, she hears me. Trying to speak, I silence her with shushes.

“Again, come on, do it again.”
“No point doing half a job, Rose. Again.”
“That’s it, steady yourself and for goodness sake, straighten yourself up.”

I leaned to the left, then quickly to the right, steadying myself.
I’m doing it, I call.
“Concentrate!”
“You’re an awful one for not concentrating.”
“If you fall off and scrape your knees, your mother wouldn’t be happy. You’ve got a feis today.”
“I’ve got it, Nanny.”
“See!”

“I love you, please wait.”
She’s slowing down. Her breathe is slower, shallower. I can’t hear her.
“Do you think she can hear me, mum?”
“Do you think she’s still here?”
“Gran, it’s Rose. I’m here.”

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Felicity Fox 9-5

9-5=mortgage
As I boarded the train today with a neighbour and colleague, another 9-5 in front of me. Black shoes, black dress, brown bag, I know next month? All adding up to a mortgage and after school care and lots of todos. Talking about some work things, some moaning things, texting, liking; it’s not rude, it’s work, and I drifted in and out of the conversation, mind elsewhere, really anywhere. Stepping off, my companions started to sprint. It’s the morning and I’m still coming to. Had I not been listening when we decided to race? Love races, any kind really, or lets just have a chase, in Central with my equally trapped companions. It’s not just me. There really wasn’t time for thoughts. We are racing down the platform. It’s 8:30 and its a full blown mummy and daddy sports day race. Those two sneaks, but I can still take them. Swinging my bag as a weapon, I began taking bodies, leaping, cutting inside a few suits in a sea of badly cut cloth, swiping a few and running pretty close to the inside on platform 7. The barriers are always a stumbling block but I chose well and I was first, turning in triumph to parade my victory. The neighbours were nowhere to be seen, surely they couldn’t have beaten me. I was practically pushing people on the track, they couldn’t have. Nowhere to be seen, as they were queued in a long line of passengers without a ticket for the new non-workable barriers. So, there wasn’t a race. And we’re going exactly where we were going before, to work, for 8 hours. To pay for the football lessons, the swimming lessons, the shoes, the parties, the presents for the parties, racing to answer the cc’d email that’s blatantly telling on me, and in eight hours I will be racing to make the train to take the wee fella to the football classes I’ve worked to pay for, but there will be no platform races today or any other as I joined the rat race…

See Saw Margery Daw by Felicity Fox

Felicity Fox
The Vixen

Not content with conquering the business world. Done with the dinner  parties and wine bars, avoiding questions of marriage and notions of babies. Until now.

Striding past me in their beige perfect pram occupied by one.

I, a few years down the line, stagger past with my buggy weighed down with jackets, plastic bags and anything I’ve managed to pick up along the way.

Passed the brasseries and quaint little pubs, I prefer to picnic in large open spaces where people are few.

Off to the park for some respite and to gather with equally stressed, sleep deprived and irate parents. There’s a reason for stereotypes and cliches. And if you don’t fit this bill, then you have a nanny or hired help of some kind. We’re all watching over our precious offsprings and glaring at one another, it’s territorial.

Stepping across the boundary and into the playpark, the babes are off in hot pursuit of a swing or a sea-saw, stamping their authority among their kind. Darwin’s theory played out.

Princes and princesses, one or two precocious parents and we’re all fenced in. We’re in one of Nappy Valley’s favourite haunts. There’s lots of oohing and ahhing and niceties. It’s very child focused. Well, it is a park. I’m eyeing up the coffee stand.

Hot on the heels of my little cubs, ready to diffuse potential situations, and it isn’t long before there is a situation at the sea-saw. A coveted apparatus. There’s a child parked on one side and my five-year old is tipping the balance to the other side, as one might expect.

It’s a tandem made for two. Not in these parts. Speaking through the medium of her child, the mother is purporting that there’s a big boy on the other side.

“Hello, I’m right here.”

“Just wait a moment until the big boy gets off and you can have your shot.” But sea-saws require two in our parts.

Rising above my patronising and selfish opponent, I too embrace the medium of my child to strike back.

“He’s just a little boy, be gentle. He’ll be off in a minute. Just give him a little shot.”

Parks are precarious places, if it’s not dogs it’s kids.

We each place our hands on the opposing sides of the sea-saw, without making eye contact and the games begin.

“That’s it, up and down, each waiting for the other to crack.”

Total glee as my opponent’s offspring throws the first tantrum. Ha ha, your brat’s not sharing. I’m quite simply delighted and I think I’m smirking.

It could have gone either way, it was touch and go for a moment as I thought my five-year old was about to start. But he didn’t let the side down. Ice-cream all round.

The shrieking continues as the boy is scraped off the sea-saw, howling as he goes. He’s not for budging as I watch on in total amusement.

His hands are being pried off by his mother who’s obviously annoyed about the architectural concept of a sea-saw and the notion that it requires two.

Ready in the wings is my three year old, rubbing salt in the wounds by hopping on.

The dad’s back and they are both pleading for calm. It’s a spectacle. Arms flying and legs kicking, I’ve been on the receiving end but today I’m the spectator.

And it feels naughty, even childish, but oh so good.

By Felicity Fox ©

She is a Woman by Felicity Fox

She was his wife, he was her husband.
She was a mother, they were her children.
She was a fighter, he a worker.
She lives on, now he’s gone.
Her friends, her brothers and sisters too, all her world.
Brave is she,
Strong is she,
She is a woman to me.

Original Musings by Felicity Fox

Talk of inspirational women, my grandmother never makes the list but she’s my heroine every day. x

When Cinders went to the Ball

On the rare occasion when I don’t have two attachments clinging onto me, I found myself sipping Prosecco in one trendy hotspot.

Like an enthusiastic tourist, I’m taking in the sights. And there are some sights. Bottoms have made a reappearance this season, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.

I speak to anyone who talks back.

When I was footloose and fancy free, I wouldn’t have entertained chat; my place was on the dance floor. No longer a regular, I’ve become quite selective. Picking clubs and pubs is based on the ratio of chairs to persons. My heels are high and I’m used to my home comforts, you see I’m usually at home.

But I do love to dance. It gets me to the core. Thrashing about on the dance floor, moving every pound of me, that’s where I want to be. I have a somewhat violent reaction to music and I don’t care whose way I’m in. I am dancing. I do need to pace myself in between numbers though.

Resting results in random chat with lots of, randoms. Seated or leaning, you are a target.

And as I said, I’d talk to anyone. But there are some people you just shouldn’t talk to, but I can’t seem to avoid them. Walk away from boring, egocentric nut jobs, any excuse will do, but I keep talking or worse, listening.

At least if you’re the one speaking then you’re in control. Listening is overrated, you’re not in control and you’re willing the person to stop.

Berating myself, I tell myself to LISTEN!!!! I’m drifting off again. Shit I missed it, and now, I’m never going to nod, laugh and grunt at the right bits.

I’m headed to the bar. I hate this bit, I’m completely out of my comfort zone.

I don’t have a problem pushing past people to get to the dance floor, but squeezing past sweaty armpits to line up for a drink is disturbing.

I’m probably not supposed to say this out loud, but it’s at this point your senses are acutely aware of the impact of the Smoking Ban. The place stinks with no smoke screen to hide behind.

And I start to think of home.

I don’t queue for drinks. He does. I miss him right now. I’m the essence of modernity but not when it comes to queuing. I would be lying if I said I miss him when I’m out. He’s a terrible dancer. His moves are the same as a daddy longlegs; gangly and cumbersome. I dance, he gets the drinks. I talk, he listens. He talks, I never listen.

After what felt like an eternity waiting to be served, our bottle of Prosecco arrives. Nestling in its shiny bucket, my friend and I sip the bubbles. Life is good.

Glancing over my shoulder to my disgust, we were rudely interrupted by what looked liked a member of a boyband. His grumpy little hands clasped tightly round the neck, caught redhanded having a swally. Rude. I was even hurt. Not just because he was a young pint-sized little sparrow-fart, but because he had a complete disregard for this momentous occasion. Too chat without interruption, to toilet without company, to bore the pants of people telling tales about my foxes. Interruptions, even to my thoughts, are constant and this arrogant teenybopper was another interruption.

I treated him like I would my three year old. “Say you’re sorry!”
“Sorry”
“No, say it like you mean it!”
The runt of the litter offered a reluctant apology, as I scowled at him.

His over eager friends were quick to come to the rescue, offering their most sincere apologies.

It’s been a while since I’ve been chatted up, and I don’t think I’m being arrogant by saying, I was being properly chatted up here. But before the hunters sought out their prey, tales of my cubs had them dropping like flies. I should add my beautiful friend was receiving enough attention, but that’s her story. I don’t tell tales.
One by one they dropped away? People just don’t want to talk. Was it something I said? Come back, I’ve not told you the funny bit yet!

Disappointed, I hadn’t even had the chance to make up one of my tales? I love a story and the romance of a new audience. Ever since I was underage, I’d make up names and extra Curriculum activities, part of the clubbing experience ritual. It was now a pubbing experience because Cinders here likes to check out early before the natives arise.

Next up, a guy donning what looked like a customised jacket. It may have been designer, but it was horrific. A songwriter. Really? Liar. This guy liked fiction just as much as me.

“I like writing too, I said.” But first tell me about the lapels on your jacket. No man should sparkle more than a woman? Did your mammy sew them on for you? I was on fire. I had to get this guy away, I hate, hate, hate, bling on a man. I’m all for inequality when it comes to pink, sparkles and diamonds. Diamonds are a girl’s best, not a boy’s and certainly not a man’s. Matching diamond rings, I squirm at the thought. Does no one have respect for tradition? My big fat gypsy boy was sent on his way to think again. But not before I asked him about his songwriting, the liar. My humour was lost on him as he turned on me to suggest a few style pointers of his own. I don’t think my kind was his type.

Another dance with my faithful friend and we’re hitting it hard on the dance floor. Ignorant to anyone in our radius, she and I are a dynamic duo.

I’m a woman’s woman, I like to think. So I’m now talking with what I think is my own kind.
“But I totally thought you were my age!” she said.
“I am. The last time I was here I was twenty four.” I hollered, above the exceptionally loud music. They’ve definitely turned the volume up, its not what it used to be.
“You totally look my age,” she echoed.
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“My age, you look my age,” she repeated.
“That’s because I am. There’s really not that big a difference between us.” I bellowed. Could someone turn the music down just a tad, I can hardly hear myself think.
“And you’ve got kids too.”
”Two.” I said, gloating.
Miraculous that. I was starting to think that there was something special about me. When I was six you were in nappies, you’re just a few laps behind me, I thought.

And then, I may as well have swapped my six inch heels for a knitted cardigan with the words:
“At your age, I was married with one on the way.” Horror crossed her face. Well, someone had to burst her bubble.
Age comes to us all, but I suppose that’s something that comes with age….

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See Saw Margery Daw by Felicity Fox

Felicity Fox
The Vixen

Not content with conquering the business world. Done with the dinner   parties and wine bars, avoiding questions of marriage and notions of babies. Until now.

Striding past me in their beige perfect pram occupied by one.

I, a few years down the line, stagger past with my buggy weighed down with jackets, plastic bags and anything I’ve managed to pick up along the way.

Passed the brasseries and quaint little pubs, I prefer to picnic in large open spaces where people are few.

Off to the park for some respite and to gather with equally stressed, sleep deprived and irate parents. There’s a reason for stereotypes and cliches. And if you don’t fit this bill, then you have a nanny or hired help of some kind. We’re all watching over our precious offsprings and glaring at one another, it’s territorial.

Stepping across the boundary and into the playpark, the babes are off in hot pursuit of a swing or a sea-saw, stamping their authority among their kind. Darwin’s theory played out.

Princes and princesses, one or two precocious parents and we’re all fenced in. We’re in one of Nappy Valley’s favourite haunts. There’s lots of oohing and ahhing and niceties. It’s very child focused. Well, it is a park. I’m eyeing up the coffee stand, ready to get a caffeine hit to get me through.

Hot on the heels of my little cubs, ready to diffuse potential situations, and it isn’t long before there is a situation at the sea-saw. A coveted apparatus. There’s a child parked on one side and my five-year old is tipping the balance to the other side, as one might expect.

It’s a tandem made for two. Not in these parts. Speaking through the medium of her child, the mother is purporting that there’s a big boy on the other side.

Hello, I’m right here.

“Just wait a moment until the big boy gets off and you can have your shot.” But sea-saws require two in our parts.

Rising above my patronising and selfish opponent, I too embrace the medium of my child to strike back.

“He’s just a little boy, be gentle. He’ll be off in a minute. Just give him a little shot.”

Parks are precarious places, if it’s not dogs it’s kids.

We each place our hands on the opposing sides of the sea-saw, without making eye contact and the games begin.

“That’s it, up and down, each waiting for the other to crack.”

Total glee as my opponent’s offspring throws the first tantrum. Ha ha, your brat’s not sharing. I’m quite simply delighted and I think I’m smirking.

It could have gone either way, it was touch and go for a moment as I thought my five-year old was about to start. But he didn’t let the side down. Ice-cream all round.

The shrieking continues as the boy is scraped off the sea-saw, howling as he goes. He’s not for budging as I watch on in total amusement.

His hands are being pried off by his mother who’s obviously annoyed about the architectural concept of a sea-saw and the notion that it requires two.

Ready in the wings is my three year old, rubbing salt in the wounds by hopping on.

The dad’s back and they are both pleading for calm. It’s a spectacle. Arms flying and legs kicking, I’ve been on the receiving end but today I’m the spectator.

And it feels naughty, even childish, but oh so good.

By Felicity Fox ©