A little tea and TV to drown out life and the living. Those of us who have seen it all can’t seem to forget, and the elemental dichotomies both internally and externerally manifesting, continue to display their torture. I’ve been tired for a long time, traversing a path winding between hope and loss, but I’ve grown accustomed, indifferent, or maybe I pretend… bad news is always insufferable nevertheless.
My father has not been well, and I’m realising just how much my parents have aged over the years, they’re growing frail with waning independence and it’s breaking my heart. My father, having been through enough to test a man twice for two life times is the strongest man I know, always carrying on, content with his sorrows and little accomplishments, but knowledge of his sacrifices and unfulfilled dreams are a pang I can never contend with.
So I have been tired, overthinking in this corner of the world where it is customary to soak in every last minute of weak transient sunshine on two given days of the week, and especially on bank holidays. But I did not go out, my mind has been preoccupied, working endlessly like a malfunctioned machine. I baked a cake, did a little morning sketch, and evaluated all the different ways everything in my life could escalate for the worst. I’ve been finding myself reflecting on heavy times, 20-something years ago-my turbulent childhood. Hope came and went, a fleeting emotion, the night sky was always beautiful but sadly inconsequential, barely given a look. Now, here, the gibbous moon dots the sky-an aneamic immitation of the lucent image that haunts me, and I lie awake with memories of names and no faces to match. I think of travelling back one day, retracing myself, piecing together the fragments of a home scattered across lands and languages. Putting old names to new faces.
I sometimes feel as though life is heading backwards and I am journeying back to those hopeless years and not towards some uncertain fate. But would the latter be any better? Have I not seen it all? I think about sleep, birdsong creeps further into the night, the darkened hours grow shorter-summer is near.
Sitting adjacent to me, eyes scanning the wall on my left. Remnants of stale nicotine and ash accompanied her stiff movements. Before the acidulous monologue began, I could smell the vitriol. The meeting took place. Eyes met and parted, and met and parted again, painfully. Someone laughed, or was it a memory? He sat opposite me with an engineered smile–always stoic, but like a placid ocean on the brink of a cataclysmic storm this time. He has stories, I thought, he must have stories, and I wondered about them as she went for the kill. I wanted to leave. He looked away.
In another room, much smaller, another meeting took place. He had an austere face, and spoke softly with dispassionate eyes. Amid parroting his string of self-important words he derailed into a cold chuckle. Another laugh? He began to flush. There was a brief silence and then “thank you” “thanks”. But I was not thankful.
The sky darkened, and I realised the sun had finally set. I thought the day would last forever, and with me eternally trapped in it. I also realised I needed some air, It was getting difficult to continue the many same dialogues, I needed to breathe. So I left.
In the car, I tried to console a colleague as she overshared. I did not leave. I realised that the day was not over, it just hid itself under the dark blanket of night, and would re-emerge tomorrow, rebranded into a new day. I drove and listened, it felt like a fortnight had passed in that week, and at least a few days in that drive. Was it Thursday? I didn’t know. I would need to check later. I needed to sleep.
Eventually in bed, I felt so heavy. I drew in a deep breath. I listened to the silence. It was Friday.
Coming across an old photo after many years – the feelings flood me, like a broken dam. I am so far removed from the girl of that time, but her longing still stings in my chest, her eyes swallow me, the years have engraved her wounds onto me-I am her mural, would she be proud?
The full moon, graceful and alone in the black summer night sky, I remember looking between tree branches at its muted glory and thinking “why does the moon always look so sad?” Summer has always been so melancholy for me, that hasn’t changed.
Thick fog – I wanted to walk away from everything, to cease the thinking, to be meaningfully alone. But getting away from oneself isn’t easy. The sky was a big grey cloud, and I remember the feel of the icy air on my skin and thinking, just endlessly thinking, and I couldn’t see the end of it. Some things never change.