Trapped in a Holding Pattern

Today I felt like my life is a holding pattern. I see the lights on the runway but they are a flickering blue. The man with the ping-pong bats shakes his head. No chance of taking off today.

The rain isn't falling outside, it's slamming. It has a weight heavier than water. My phone is already filling up with texts from the ex about unpaid bills. The same ones, month on month. Surely being ground down has never felt more numb? Comfortably so and those bills don't go away. They slowly wind down to the dank place of no return.Take me to the river, drop me in the water.

Holding Pattern - couldn't tell you if this band is any good

It's a Saturday but I have to work two jobs. The mountains seem a long way away. The sink is clogged again. Two jobs on a Saturday to pay the bills for the thing that's spiralling down anyway. By the time I'm on the road, I'm less agitated. Dead kids are being pulled out from rubble in Aleppo at the same time as we pull into Dunkin Doughnuts. They point at peanut butter pumpkin doughnuts. Pumpkin is the way of the world now. It's October and October is alway orange. When did we get so pumpkin obsessed? I doubt if there will be much trick or treating in Aleppo this Halloween.

The pastor tells me he has a serious disorder. Think sickle cell. Like being trapped in a cell. Held to ransom by those red blood cells. Why's he so animated? His joy has infected his whole core. It's addictive but makes me back off. Maybe there's something in this God business anyhow. I think of the book I failed to finish this summer. A trashy novel from the thrift store but some interesting material about Shakespeare. Worship from the wrong book and they cut you apart with red hot pincers. Throw in a hangman and the man with the tools for disembowelment.  Why did disembowelment and the church go hand in hand? Think the Bishop of Hereford with the red hot poker used to kill Edward II.

To think I saw the pit in the middle of the room. And it didn't look so bad.

Back to the holding pattern. There we go again - good and evil, hot and cold. Our inability to soar beyond our baseness. Leering at the screen. The sins of the flesh. The barrel bombs fall. I once wrote about it, a highway art program that nobody noticed on a wide suburban road in Ilford. I stopped the car, I walked two blocks and there it was beyond - blue beyond the blue exhaust fumes. Holding Pattern with its cold sapphire lights twinkling on iron poles, unlovely and unnoticed by the angry cars on the asphalt road to London.

Many years earlier I thought of Ilford in a different way. Left behind after class with Mr. G as we pulled out the black and white Ilford films and processed them in the dark room. The heavy and ripe smell of the chemicals and the anticipation as the ghostly images took shape in the negatives. I thought of the trees flitting by on the long drive home. The silence of my parents in the front seat, lulled half into a sleep and imagining the glades in darkness outside the window. I wondered about Mr. G. His daughter,  the annoying woman who tags me in Facebook posts of her holidays. It wouldn't take much to ask but what do I ask. And would connecting two worlds be too much for me? Too much time and space and the teen me no longer recognizable. Another place, another country. But not the privileged place of blazers and crests and houses. Just downbeat uninspirational suburbia.

Looking out at the hammering rain I wonder if much has changed. In a holding pattern still after all this time.


  1. This used to be my least favourite times - when I felt I was floating - existing instead of living.

  2. yesss got to love floating rather than living - thanks for dropping by Mandy

  3. Life often seems to keep us in a holding pattern. Better than crashing horribly I suppose.

    Some haunting images and contrasts in this post.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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