They came. They conquered. They left. With a piece of my heart tucked into the soles of their feet.
Last night, around 2am, the owls were busy tap dancing on the roof of the Coach House, the converted garage I have called home for the past three years. I thought of Raf, who sometimes worries about me in the midst of all these owls. But he understands I'm nocturnal. 'I'm nocturnal, too!' he declared, last summer in Portugal. He was four then. At five, he is now a skilful Pokémon catcher. One sunny day, he and I combed the entire village, collecting measly Pokéballs at the phone box library and finding mostly Rattatas and Pidgeys (and a Mr Mime!) - he got stung by thorny ivy snakes, was shocked to discover roses have thorns and the duck pond from last year seemed to have vanished, so all in all it was 'the worst day, ever.'
But! We met an orange slug. Have you ever? Bright and burnished, it looked nothing like its ordinary grey camouflage-ready mollusc cousin - Raf and I were gripped by the drama. Of course neither of us knew we were looking at Arion vulgaris, the cannibalistic roadkill eating variety. Arion vulgaris - what a name! I'm quite partial to the term vulgaris because in the late thirteenth century that is how lupus was referred to - lupus vulgaris.
I didn't blog last month - one of the rare months of complete absence. I have been struggling with chronic tachycardia most of the year. I hope there is nothing too sinister, cardiologically speaking - fingers crossed, anyway - but at the same time, almost twenty years of lupus, steroids, chemo and immuno therapies have no doubt taken their toll. My heart is overworked, but never under appreciated. Did I tell you I've finished my book? My last chapters are all dedicated to my heart, wondrous organ that it is.
While the smallest loves of my life are far away in other countries, I am head down, writing to publishing agents. I rise to meet the day and either crumble back to bed or send my book with love to strangers. Wish me luck as I wave it goodbye!