I bought myself a milk frother. Actually in today’s language that isn’t quite true. I ordered myself one. It’s a little machine whisk, the handle of which contains a battery. The whisk part is a small circle of wire with a curly wire going all over it, and it vibrates or spins when you press the button on its handle.
You can froth milk, or cream, or in my case, a teaspoon of instant coffee and a teaspoon of sugar in a tablespoon of boiling water. Froth that right up until its thick and foamy and double the size of the liquid. Then add boiling water and a teensy splash of warmed milk and there you have something delicious.
Something like a cappuccino, but lighter, frothier, tastier and way cheaper. You can have it as many times a day as your jitters will allow.
Early in the morning before your kids wake up and drag you backwards through a hedge.
Late at night when they are asleep and you’re desperately typing away at your laptop keyboard trying to get this big project done.
In the afternoon, at 3pm precisely, when a wave of deep exhaustion slaps you on both cheeks and then parks its bottom on your eyelids. Heavy heavy, limbs like lead, but you sip from that sweet foam and you’re mildly awake again, setting about to finish off the rest of your day.
I don’t know what it is about life that feels so alien.
I want to write stories and describe things and delve into humanity’s mind, I want to talk to people and explore their minds and learn things and thoughts and opinions. But I find myself on the daily repeating a tedium that is almost set in stone. Written into my soul by the generations before me.
My grandmother and her paper thin skin and brown, wrinkly hands pop into my mind often.
I was having a conversation with my husband and mother in law about something to do with children growing up and leaving and I mentioned my grandmother and my husband said, out of the blue,
‘She was very lonely, your grandmother, wasn’t she?’
It felt like a punch in the gut. I thought about her, raising three children alone in London in the 70s, divorced and heartbroken, hardworking and efficient. She packed them all off to uni and waved goodbye as they got married and travelled across the globe and country, and there she resided in her big old Victorian house on a side street in South London.
She was incredibly lonely.
My sweet, kind, warm, loving grandmother.
And she is no longer with us. In fact, on the 22nd of July it will have been 11 years since she passed away.
And when he said that a deep sadness rose up so suddenly that I could not control myself, so I got up to go to the kitchen under the pretext of clearing the dishes away.
‘Are you doing to cry?’ he asked me.
‘No,’ I said, as the tears gathered thick and fast in my eyes and threatened to spill out onto my cheeks. I shut the kitchen door behind me and began to wash the dishes to compose myself.
My son ran in a few moments later and his eyes were huge, ‘Mama are you sad?’ he said. He had interrupted his play to check on me.
I turned and smiled at him.
‘No sweetheart, I am not sad.’
He searched my face with his eyes for a few moments and then went back to his game, evidently appeased.
And I remembered searching my own mother’s face like he did. In fact, I still do. I search her voice and her eyes and the way her chin moves.
And I thought about how she too, would do the same to her mother. My grandmother.
I don’t know what all this means or how it relates to a milk frother and being overwhelmed.