It’s cold outside. Cold cold. Yesterday it was the kind of cold when you knew you’d definitely need a coat, and you’d need a scarf but you were unsure if you needed gloves.
And this morning, I definitely felt like I needed gloves. When I woke up I had to wake Frodo so he could move off the bed he so very much likes to to take up, to let me have some more duvet. I haven’t needed to do that for a while. I opened the curtains and noticed some marks on the corners of the panes, kind of like fading dirt marks. But when I looked closer, I realised they weren’t dirt marks at all, but frost.
That was the first sign.
I went downstairs to feed Frodo, make myself a coffee and turned the TV on. It was only after a couple of minutes that I felt something come over me. A chill. Not a big chill, but a gradual almost teasing chill. I looked around the room and saw no one else in the room but the dog. I just guessed it was a draft coming from the gaps in the old floorboards or from under the door. So I just turned the heating on.
That was the second sign.
Walking up the road to the station I tend to just stick my headphones on and dance my way up the road (well, dancing in my head). But I looked around and noticed the chill in the air. I could see my breath in the air in front of me.
That’s when I knew he’s back.
An old friend. One that we all know.
He isn’t liked by everyone.
He’ll just appear without anyone noticing. He’ll see a lonely branch on a tree in the corner of the park. He’ll take his time gliding over to the tree, so slowly that it looks like he’s floating. When he reaches the tree, he looks at it, he pauses and bows his head a little to the right. He wraps his long slender fingers around the branch while deeply inhaling.
His soft grasp on the branch releases gently and he lets go. He turns his head to the left, something has caught his eye.
Something bigger than a branch, something more stable that doesn’t blow in the wind. A lamp post. He dances over in no more than three steps but changes his mind because someone is coming. As he whips away trying to find somewhere else in the city he can visit, he tenderly strokes the side of the lamp post. Just enough of a touch so he can leave a mark.
There are some areas in the city that he can’t reach, or doesn’t want to reach. He likes quiet secluded areas where he can work, and then when he leave,s he doesn’t mind people gathering to admire his work.
You’ll often find him accompanying you at home without you realising it. In the little nooks and crannies, underneath the floorboards, and the gap underneath the door. No one knows what he looks like or what he sounds like, and that’s how he likes it. He’s not as old a man as everyone thinks. He’s just a little mischevious, carefree and happiest when he can behave as he pleases. He’s often mistaken for the howling of the wind but that just makes him laugh. He likes to be hidden.
He just wants to leave his mark on the world, like the rest of us.