Second skin


The demands of playing football outdoors through the winter are a little less severe on today’s young lads. A ‘skin’ is a tight polyester shirt worn underneath the football top, which seals in their body heat and insulates them from the cold and wind of the playing field. Gabe used to hunch and look so reluctant when playing in bad weather. In his skin, he no longer bows down to the conditions. After the game, L or I have to help him out of his skin, which clings to him. I pull a cuff, and he withdraws an arm, fighting the suction of the sleeve. More dramatic is taking his head through the collar. It catches his ears and pulls the flesh up his cheeks before, with a quiet pop, he is freed.


Eliza has moved to the books of Michael Morpurgo. She has just finished Private Peaceful. I’ve read extracts with her at bedtime, each of which has upset me: death of a father, saving a young child from a falling tree; a cruel Grandmother chasing away the animals looked after by a lad with learning disabilities; life amidst the mud, rats, lice and shells of a first world war trench. It ends, she told me this morning, with the execution of a young man for refusing to leave his younger brother, when injured in the war. ‘Did you find it a very sad book?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, but didn’t seem upset by these gritty, harsh tales.


Robin wants to do what I do. I pruned the plum tree and broke the branches into sizes to fit into the ‘green’ bin. Robin insisted and persisted until I relented to be able to use the saw. Carefully and ever so slowly, he got to saw into a branch. Later, hanging new curtains in L and my bedroom, Robin appeared, eager to help. I placed him on the window sill, from where he could just manage to stretch up and hook the curtains onto the rail, with me marking him tight so he couldn’t fall and while holding up the curtain.


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] even-money bet was lost. Eliza was upset but seems to have a tough shell to protect her. L set aside an afternoon for some Baejae memory fixing, writing and drawing about […]


  2. […] children, drunken mothers and runaway fathers with the same relish and unsentimentality as she did Michael Morpurgo’s tales of world events separating loved ones from each […]


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