I know I am not alone, that I have friends out there, comrades, brothers-in-arms; I’ve even heard there are support groups for us, but so far, I’ve not worked out how to join one. And so here I am in glorious isolation, the famous second drawer down in your kitchen – or should I say infamous? I would love to be famous, and I deserve to be, given all I contain, but anytime she opens me she just rummages through me with a weary sigh and then slams me shut muttering something defeatist like, ‘how am I supposed to find anything in there?’
My heart sinks when she looks at me that way, in a way that I can only describe as frustrated disappointment. It’s as though she thinks it’s all my fault. Drawers don’t tidy themselves you know – I want to call after her. I want to remind her about the untold treasures I possess, but she has turned on her heel, off to do something much more important than pay me any attention, probably to watch Netflix.
If she would only take the time to pan for gold in here she would not believe what she would find. Yes, there are plastic bags from Scotmid and Lidl and some of those thin blue ones that you could spit through from the Indian takeaway around the corner, and sometimes they fall down the back so that I don’t close properly, and there are scores of plastic ties from the top of loaves of bread (what in heaven’s name is she keeping those for?), but there are other things too, useful things that she has no idea I guard and she doesn’t bother to look for and so off she goes to buy yet more AAA batteries when I could set up a stall with the unopened packets I already have.
Three tape measures and two shoehorns and a trick spider (plastic, it wouldn’t trick a blind man) and four boxes of birthday candles, three of which are intact (she doesn’t know they are here and keeps buying more), just like the spools of black thread – there are five of those, hold on… one of them is white. And there is a box of Price’s cooks candles that she could have put to good use last night after she fried that fish – the smell is still lingering, even with the window open overnight. I have more curtain hooks than they would need to hang drapes in the whole of Holyrood Palace – and have you ever seen the number of windows in that place? And that big brown envelope stuffed with franked stamps that she assiduously clips off every letter and parcel that comes through the letterbox. Maybe she thinks it’s still 1981 and Blue Peter are collecting for Guide Dogs for the Blind or some such. (How did they ever turn old stamps into money anyway?) There are three lighters in here, and two stoppers for the sink and a ball of sting and a miniature pack of cards (from a Christmas cracker in 2016) and fifteen allen keys and a load of pebbles she brought back from Tyninghame beach two Easters ago, and a postcard she kept for the address that’s on it so she can send a card back to that wee woman (but she never got round to it and now she’s forgotten it’s here). And there’s a packet of leek seeds that she opened but didn’t plant and then didn’t tape shut so they’ve rolled out and look a bit like mouse droppings. In fact, there might actually be some mouse droppings in here too – shhh, that’s so humiliating! And bundles of guarantees for everything she has ever bought including one for a toaster she bought in Belfast in 2001 for £7.99. And I’ve not even mentioned the super glue. She threw a tube a glue in here years ago with the lid not properly screwed on and then she tossed in the handle from a pestle and mortar (I never know which is which). Anyway, the bowl broke (she dropped it and spectacularly cracked three floor tiles) but kept the wee grinder arm thing, but it’s heavy and squashed the tube of glue and it leaked out and has stuck fast to my bottom. More indignity. And now those party napkins have stuck fast. She’s going to have some job getting all that off when the day comes.
Are you beginning to understand how wearisome my life is? Tracey Emin would probably say I am an art form – but the truth is I am a mess. All it would take would be twenty minutes. OK, maybe half an hour for her to transform my world. There are things in here that make me sad; like that wee porcelain robin whose tail broke off and she was really upset about it, so she wrapped the two pieces in kitchen roll and then put them in a sandwich bag and placed it in here. That’s just asking for it to be broken further. And now when she opens me, she has forgotten what’s in the wee bag as it’s all wrapped up and, well, you don’t see what you’re not looking for. It was her nana’s favourite and she’d turn in her grave if she knew where that wee robin had ended up.
One of these days I just won’t open. I’ll seize. Seize with anger at the way I have been treated. And then she’ll stand to attention. Then she’ll see to me!