That one sound is different.

So many sounds at this time of year. I have noted twenty-seven. That of Father’s footstep before he opens the front door. Lighter as the holiday nears. His stair-step, dragging when it’s been a long day. That of his slippers, the furry scuff towards the tinkle of the whiskey decanter, and then the slosh in the glass. Mother’s gait: quick in the dark of the morning, changing, a touch heavier after lights-on. The drum-roll of her heels, in and out. And that queer weightlessness, the pent-up breath of her step before she enters the bedroom. I won’t try and list the child-music. The scamper, right to the blown tip of her hair, when off to school. The skip at the gate. She dances to herself, at times, in her room. Tap and turn. Her laughters. Stuff my ears and I can still tell you of seven sorts. They ripple across one’s skin.

There are, of course, the sayings of the house. When the heating clanks on or the rain dribbles. The flushings, the wince and quease (how would you put it?) of the stairwell. More door-voices than there are registers of wind. Warmth has its sound when it slides under the kitchen door. I know them all. They prickle my scalp. But this one is different.


A Discourse on the Elephant
Furniture of Desire