So far, winter had been a mild, dampish interlude. Earlier in the day, there had been halfhearted spatters of rain but now it was almost warm. It was too early to be sure, only February, but there was a definite promise of spring shaping up, things growing. I stopped to shift my book bag from one shoulder to the other, feeling the stretch and exhilaration of my life pulse through me.
I was late. I must hurry. I must always hurry.
Five minutes later, I walked up the tiled front path of number seven Lakey Street. Twenty years ago, Nathan and I had talked of restoring a silk weaver's house in Spitalfields, or discovering the perfect-priced Georgian family house on four floors, which-unaccountably-no one else had spotted. Lakey Street fitted between our small flat in Hackney and any wilder speculations. One day, we promised ourselves, we would upgrade, but we settled promptly into the Victorian terrace that comfortably encompassed our family and forgot about doing any such thing.
The streetlights were lit, and the fresh white paint on the window frames was washed with a neon tint. The bay tree dripped onto me as I passed and, for the thousandth time, I told myself it was far too big, planted in the wrong place, and would have to go. For the thousandth time, I reprieved it.
From Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan, Copyright Elizabeth Buchan February 2003,. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Viking Press, a member of the Penguin Group, Inc.
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