The Burial of Mickey Mouse: Part 21
London, November. Autum leaves on the ground and I'm back to the single life with all its possibilities and all its fears. I have no money, I'm confused, sad, curious, excited. I gravitate towards Hampstead since I have a few friends there and I find a cheap bed-sitter in the neighbourhood of Swiss Cottage. Coin-meter for electricity, small gas fire to huddle in front of, shared bathroom down the hall. Here's an extract from my diary:
I wake up in a new room. Faded sepia wallpaper stained with strangers' stains, greasy cooking fingers, hair inexplicably stuck to the wall, remnants of strangers' lives hiding in bottom drawers, blonde hairpins, strangers' dust to be swept out and replaced by my dust. An English room, London room, Hampstead room, silent as the grave, grey birds perched on grey branches against the grey sky, melancholy with an un-modern sadness, a monochrome sadness, a romantic, barrel-organ kind of sound. And me, Natalie, in this room, far from my origins, gone the Paraguayan sun, the Mediterranean sun, the American assurance and all my busy kin-folk, gone the man that was my husband - was I ever married? Gone my childish games with God, building blocks for temples, all gone. Only myself and the room and my clock-ticking brain still caught in its routine convolutions, performing its trained seal tricks over and over again, slowing down now, aware that the audience is no longer watching.
I wish I could be swept by a monsoon wind, released from my hold on the everyday, taken over by vastness, by rage - not somebody else's, my own. Great white expanses of canvas upon which to imprison my vision now, not the next day but now, forget words rooms places faces upstairs downstairs receipts lists plans landladies jobs groceries clocks shampoo lipstick mirrors kisses heels clicking down the street the past the future the whole kitchen sink of it, overturn the table and really get going, crack the whip and watch the thundering hooves come charging in at my command and line themselves up for my brush.