She sits in front of the window.
She always sits in front of the window.
The curtains are open, and while the entrance to the gravel driveway leading to the building sits on a main road the view from the window is of the large hedge which shields the garden and the grounds.
She sits in front of the window, her back to it, a small table with files and papers to her right.
You had a choice of two chairs. One is in the corner of the room, diagonally across from her chair. You do not sit there. Instead you sit by the wall, between you and her a small coffee table, leaflets on it, black leaflets with bold white type. You use the top one as a coaster, so the cup of tea, strong and made in the cup, does not mark the table. There is a box of tissues. There is always a box of tissues.
Between the silences you talk.
Between the silences, those moments where you are present but no longer in the room, smelling the kerosene, the stench, the sweat stained stench, of alcohol, hearing the whispered voices, seeing the windows, the orange sheets on the hill, the mirror, you talk. You sit there and talk. She can tell when you’re not there, sometimes lets it go. Sometimes she asks. But you don’t have to answer. Most of the time, just now, it is easier not to answer.
You don’t always mean to end up where you end up. After a couple of weeks you realised that preparing and thinking about what you are going to talk about did not necessarily help. You’d guessed you would be in the kitchen – looking out of the back window at the tree, at the house, that window, but you couldn’t tell that you’d be in a garden, grass taller than you, the hand opening to reveal a frog, a vibrant green frog. And you worry that that matters, that these routes, these detours to avoid, that she can tell, that she knows, that she is working out what it means, that she is doing this with every word, with every gesture. And so every time you become conscious that you slip from “I” to “you” you note it. You tell her.
She makes a note.
“We’ll come back to that”.
You nod. You will.
You will come back to it.
I will come back to it.
I will come back.