(This is an image from my studio of work in progress on events relating to the Spanish Civil War.)
A hilarious exchange about a mistake on a station platform. A deep conversation about family life.
I get up and down from my keyboard. I stir a broth on the stove and empty dishes hot from the washing machine. A fan whirs but it’s okay, I have my headphones on.
All is quiet.
I gaze at the twinkling lights strung around the room and note how peaceful this is. We are warm, we have eaten well.
That feeling I love comes over me. I remember all those other moments when my kitchen has felt like the engine room of a ship at night on a calm sea. It will take us to our destination, with the quiet and purposeful hum of machinery that works effortlessly well.
I first discovered the engine room when I held my second baby in the night as the dishwasher purred and she settled into the white noise.
Plates will be clean, mouths will be fed, we have shelter.
I move out of my chair again to pause for thought, stack cups in the cupboards and know the freedom to range and write, range and write. This is the autistic way sometimes.
We may need movement to think. The kinesis of my body takes my thought a step on to where it needs to go. But this is me watching me.
I have also observed the world. Click, click, click. I’ve been to so many places in one day. Click and click.
I’ve been to Aleppo. I’ve seen the film about the children who can’t cry. They no longer cry.
Covered in dust and dried blood these infants say nothing. They walk with wide unblinking eyes and are led by the hand by strangers. They observe the adults around them. A mother, clothed in the same matter, cries for her children who are all dead. A youth carries a bundle in his arms as he weeps. His dead baby brother. Without a father he takes his place.
They wait to learn if their mother is dead.
I am watching the intimacies of others – I am in places I shouldn’t be. Click. Click.
I am watching what I’m asked to witness by a news agency. I am watching the end of worlds.
In Aleppo there is no engine room, no string of lights, no broth and no-one is free to range and write.
In Aleppo there is slaughter and more to come.
We watch, we click.
But oh – we move on…
And turn our attention to our peaceful homes.
And we complain.
We complain about the stupid things.
© Sonia Boué 2016