By Cath Barton
We’d had a porch built on the front of our house, to keep the warmth in. There’s a stained glass window in the morning side, and it’s cheering to see the spilling colours when you go in there, even on dull days. It’s good for Mum too. She can see yellows and oranges much better than other colours, she says. It’s been so cleverly done, little shards of lemon, gold, mustard, amber, apricot and something the designer called tenné. I never identified which bit that was. Sometimes I’d come home and find Mum standing in the porch, just gazing at the window, her face all bright. I had been thinking I should get a seat put in the porch for her.
It happened on a Thursday. Thor’s day, isn’t it, God of Thunder? I’ve always thought that Thursday had a sombre sort of sound to it. There was a misty, early summer sun just twinkling through the stained glass window as I stepped out. In the street a little boy was blowing bubbles. I thought of calling Mum, but she wouldn’t have been able to see them and I was already cutting it fine for my bus. Things might well have turned out differently if I’d turned back, but it’s useless speculating like that, isn’t it?
I caught the bus, just, and thumped down on the nearest seat, bumping into the person in the window seat. I didn’t look at the person. Half-closed my eyes, probably, concentrating on getting my breath back. The bus bumped and jolted along the road and I remember thinking that they really ought to do a proper repair, not just fill in the winter potholes. That must have been the last thing I thought of before it happened because the man who pulled me out told me, months on when I was able to hear properly again, that I’d been shouting about repairing the road. I remember nothing. No, that’s not quite true. I remember bubbles. Like that little boy was blowing. I did tell the kind man. There were bubbles bursting, I told him. He said that it must have been something to do with the explosion. I was so close, you see. I’ve been told it was a woman, that person I sat down next to, the one who did it.
There is a seat in our porch now. Maybe that dear kind man organised it. I sit there with Mum when the sun’s shining. It’s good to feel it on my face and Mum describes the colours to me. It’s not right is it, her still having to look after me at her age? Though in a funny way it seems to have done her good, given her back a purpose. I don’t know, but maybe her sight is improving now she has to see for the two of us. She told me today that a little boy was walking down the street blowing bubbles. Pretty bubbles in the air, she said.
Cath Barton is an English singer, writer and photographer of Scottish descent who lives in Wales.