I have a strange attraction towards lost gloves: on the edges of paths and driveways, left on fence-posts like severed Halloween pranks, or even just in the street.
I mention this interest because on the Wednesday I went to get my hair cut, (moments before I crossed the street in a freezing hailstorm that came out of nowhere) quite close by a phone-box, I saw a complete pair of gloves. Both of them. ‘Briers’ gloves in two shades of brown. At that point I didn’t know that ‘Briers’ gloves are pretty high quality gardening gloves.
The minute I saw the word ‘Briers’ though, my brain leapt to the last line of William Blake’s poem The Garden of Love.:
‘Binding with briars my joys and desires.’
To me, a lost glove connotes a tarot card exclusively on the state of my romantic life. Here I posited my obsession with gloves as a lateral association with love. It was odd to see two this time.
Before I could ponder any further, I was hit by a sudden gale so strong I nearly got knocked sideways. Hail so cold that I had to screw my eyes up and cross the street in dashes. My very light coat was soaked through, I’d no gloves or umbrella. Eventually I made it to my Grandmother’s house.
My Uncle opened the door and greeted me in the hall. It was so peaceful I felt guilty for dripping on the floor. He walked me through to the kitchen where his wife was, and she remarked with the good-natured incomprehension of those who are perpetually indoors:
“Is it raining?”
I looked at her, my drenched state evident and turned on a dime to say comically:
“Oh yes, only a little.”
I was then fussed over while my Aunt made me a cup of tea. I also realised that I’d been lent a shawl and cardigan which belonged to my late Grandmother. I thought I’d feel odd wearing a dead person’s clothes, but I didn’t. They were daisy-fresh and the cardigan had pearly beads in a design at either side with lace edges and ribbon rosettes. Needless frippery, but somehow touching. I worried I’d unsettled my Uncle, by suddenly embodying her like that.
My Aunt kindly drove me home and I said a lot of prayers before I went to sleep, just in case – some very strange stuff has happened to me post diagnosis – I stayed awake for as long as I could, until I fell asleep, thankfully without incident.
I wish sometimes that gloves could just be gloves, but being in her clothes reminded me of her quiet steadfastness and dignity. Maybe that was the bigger lesson of the day? We’ve all got to go, but if you’re going to go anywhere, make sure you ‘go together.’
Isn’t that what people mean when they say: “We met and fitted together, like a glove” (?)
~ Pola ~