"Are they real?" We have pages of kitchen utensils and books
and candlesticks and nibs, but the charcoal pencil and new sketchpad
are squat as aubergines in her hands in front of this display.
With bad weather forecast and light silting up in cramped windows,
we are the only visitors. The year settles in a corner of the room,
has removed its white gloves, tip by tip, and set to one side
its summer purse of bibelots and sheen. Half-term of her final year,
we are sightseers intent on moors. In the morning, her windcheater
and red wellies will bestow the dust of summer festivals upon
sullen, wind-soaked sheep. We will park, and walk ourselves
into the final, cutting rain between pages of her favorite book.
She wants to go all the way to Top Withens, or the house they say
must have been Top Withens, given its loneliness and set. But now
is artifacts and souvenirs: a perfume with too much musk in it,
a jar of damson jam which we probably won't open until past
its sell-by date. We are buying the word "damson." And we are buying
time. "Are they real?" she asks me, and I watch her reckon the distance
between what should and should never be seen. We have fallen short.
She draws, and what she draws is rain falling slant inside the bedroom;
the bed as a box of leaves and stones and, within the display case,
she hangs from the clothes rail, little moons. On the mannequin,
water lilies stand in for morning dress, and the backdrop is marbled