It was a little more than an hour's work, to clean the kitchen: wash all the dishes, pots, and pans, wipe down the counters, even scrub out the sink with the Bar Keeper's Friend. I could feel Martha's worried eye on me from time to time: she hates it when people get heroic. She fears that when the fit passes, the backlash will be all the worse: or that horse and rider will come down, trying a hedge too high, and she'll be left to put the pistol to the horse's head.
A sensible fear, living with me, but she was mistaken. Sober joy: joy at having survived, joy at being back in a world in which effort has effects, in which facts are true or false, in which light spills over the edge of the world in the morning, and drains away at night, in which there is fresh air and unbeholden creatures roaming at their own sweet will. Oh, it's not fair, it's not fair, but I associate that house with everything suffocating and artificial, and with every mean thing in my soul that answers to them: the craving for endless repetitions, desires and gratifications piling so thick and nauseating together that they lose the name of pleasure and just become the sea, the endless thirsty sea.
So I now at home I work, I clean and scrub, I dry rack after rack of dishes. I grow tired: but it's not the bone-tiredness of spending all day avoiding the plain tasks before my face. It's just the ordinary tiredness of cleaning a well-used kitchen. And it makes me feel as though there was still a glance from the goddess of hope falling on my shoulder. Every once in a while, a glance. I don't ask for more than that: I don't ask for that much. But I'm grateful. I will sleep tonight.