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Softwood Landing

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

As I cough from the dust whilst pulling out the nails tethering the worn rug, faded, but heavy on my mind's staircase.

Why do I feel this way. Why do I keep that solitary seat warm on the carpeted stairs.

It is feeling left out, shamed and vilified.

Going back again and again, looking for more on

The safe landing, ever since I was a child. It was never a safe spot, but not because of me.

There was a family which was very proud, respected, and accomplished, of which I was the youngest member.


My siblings resented and rebuked me, while I looked up to them. That is never a healthy dynamic, the therapy tomes tell us. It seems that I keep wearing down the carpet on that landing, and sometimes staying much too long in those futile spaces. I bring them home on my shoes, pieces of that unsettled settling, that clings to bygone remains.

The brightening promise, I now see it. When others would keep me there, either because they choose to, or are not capable of anything more. Either way, the denouement is the same. It sucks the air from my story. Ultimately, the choice is mine, in this complex realm of adulthood.

How much airtime in my head do I choose to give them.

When they revisit me, which they will, either because I encounter their coldness in a new human form, or because the vinyl record is set on an endless play mode. What will I do.


I need to look into its stubborn face, whose circular lack of feeling fuels a cruel antipathy, before I turn away.

It is a face I choose not to wear, or piggyback with me.

I move forward to live out the rest of a life.

I don't settle for my cold landing.

I owe myself, and today's dearest ones, that much. They watch and smile, as I sidestep the well-trodden landing for my next chosen step, within its small square of sunlit softwood.

Photo by Gigi Bousquet

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