Wednesday, May 6

Into a Nutshell For You

IT WOULD NOT be untrue for me to say that I was anticipating returning to work. It is not – I assure you – because I enjoy my labour so keenly; no, that is not the case.
Over the weekend I spoke to not a single soul. Of course I may have said a word or two to the a clerk—
‘And a pack of blue drum, please.’
‘Thanks.’
‘Just that, please.’
And, over & over, I said—‘Excuse me’ as I walked down the street, through the crowd, with the ring around me; always the ring. I spoke those words, but not one soul did I speak to, the gentle rocking back & forth of one person to another.
Ah, I did speak to my father on Sunday, less than a minute of conversation, as I asked whether he and my mother were still at my grandmother’s because I would join them; but no, he informed me they were just leaving, so I sat down on the sofa and looked at the sky through the window.
Three days without speaking to another human being! What an awful time! Just to watch their lips flap would have brought me such joy. I would not have minded what they say, just to listen to them, see their expressions, their intonations, their gesticulations! I would have taken it over anything. What made all of this loneliness so much more bitter was that I had not once been short of company before – for an entire year – and then all company was pulled from me! and for what!? I am no a great sinner.
Slowly I went crazy on my loneliness.
It beckoned me.
So, I was very excited about going to work again.
Two hours before my alarm, I awoke in considerable pain and was unable to return to sleep. I lay there, tossing & turning. As the day wore on I realised that I was quite unwell: diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness, aching, sneezing, coughing; and above all that I found myself falling asleep all of the time. Most inconvenient that I should be pestered when I was back at work, away from my empty bed! I could not even walk at lunch, so rotten was I feeling!
It was the first time I had returned home without the cats being there to greet me. I remembered when I walked in and Pippa was by my feet and Tim was on the arm of the sofa, both mewing at me, both putting their heads against me, making a racket, and I would pick each up in turn (Pippa first) and say hello and pet them. I would give them some food and then both would sit on me while I were undressing. I sat down on the bed to get undressed and neither cat appeared. I lay down and looked at the ceiling. I missed them so much. Over a human, I will take a cat or dog – any day. Falling asleep, picking up objects and dusting them off, waking myself up, poking my eyes so I’ll not fall asleep again.
It is okay, though! I am seeing my parents the next evening.
I am due to go for a meal with them and then a comedy gig. I am so excited to see them again. It is all I can think of. I will say hello to my parents and kiss them and tell them that I’ve missed them, but grin so that I don’t seem so sincere and not a word will I tell them of my misery but to act happy and so on. I could not wait to see my mother most of all.
It was not to be.
‘R—, do you want to come to this workshop with me?’
‘…Okay …How long will it be?’
‘Only an hour, maybe an hour and a half.’
The meeting was three hours long so that I missed my train, then the next one, then the next one. I sat in the meeting trying not to fall asleep (very strong cafetière coffee and an office full of beautiful architects). My diarrhoea ached so that I had to find a toilet. Then the trains were up the spout, cancelled and delayed. I missed the meal and would miss the comedy gig. I got off of the train and called my father but did not speak because I was crying on the train platform and the wind was blowing as the weather-lady had said it would. I did not want to cry but I could not help it, as it is so embarrassing to cry in public; I have been doing it so often lately. My face is one big ice sculpture!
After all that, I got off the train early and walked back to the flat, where there were no cats waiting for me. I lay back down on my bed and stared at the ceiling.

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