David’s stone

imageThis morning I had a mini-meltdown, the backpack finally finding my rigid shoulder blades, the suitcase latching lipit-like onto my balled hands. Two months after making the decision, four months after sensing the need for a different approach, a year after feeling itchy and miserable, it’s hit me – the mountain, the avalanche, the stone, the thing I’ve been evading – and I can’t, no matter how much I might want to, escape.

Standing in the middle of my new flat – an apartment really to be exact, to give it (my abode most humble) its credit, its due, the tears came and my lips collapsed. Used to being strong; to coping, to managing, to steering the ship; to keeping us (both e and my partner) afloat – if not financially, then at least emotionally and directionally: I was both humbled and shocked. Shit! What now? What next?

Overwhelmed, everything beyond the current moment was black: the hour, the day, the week… all the way up to as far as I could see without losing myself in the clouds of tomorrow. Too many problems, too many obstacles, too many malicious them’s attacking and subtracting from the sum (currently pitiful) total of us.

I’m sure, comfortably seated in the future, once again enthroned, I will look back and laugh: ha, ha, ha!!! I’m sure this – now; the beast, the burden, the monotone, the unmanageable, etc. – will all be a joke. When my house is a home, when my shell is a nest; when my family are settled and together, happy… But now, in the void, in the interim, in the in-between space from which there is only today, a day that is heartless, callous, never-ending in its pursuit, there is no laughing or smiling or joking. No furniture, no fixtures, no familiar things: it, this, where I currently am – both emotionally and physically, is just an empty space, devoid of emotion, of meaning or me. Which wouldn’t be a problem, only we are bereft of the means to make amends.

Finances being short, thanks to a run of unfortunate events, events that stubbornly keep on coming – thick and fast, faster than we can fight them off, faster than one would have thought possible: we are well and truly up the creek (proverbial) without a paddle to steer by. This is not how I like to be. This is not where I want to be. This is not what I saw or what I agreed to in the beginning when we kicked this whole thing off. Having been sold a dream which was already a personal nightmare (my idea of Hell, if I am honest), I am struggling to keep up.

Slipping, tripping; sinking, drowning: I attempt to evade the wave. Yet no matter how fast I move, how far I go, how much I push against it, there is no escaping the flux. Even as I write this, endeavouring in concretising to superficially placate my rapidly breaking self, there is more… The café that has been my haunt, my rock, my stone, my safe space in a place that lacks any and all things familiar, has just ousted me, informing me that my presence is not welcome any more. Apparently it’s okay to come and sit, providing said ‘sitting’ is for a short while – bite-sized, delicate and feminine – partaking of a coffee and cake or a toast and tea. But to idle with my iPad or sit with my knitting and stitching, is outside the realm of the image they are looking to promote.

If I wasn’t already so upset, so emotionally bruised and battered by the current run of events, I might be able to see my way to the funny side; after all, it does keep coming… As it is, I am struggling not to collapse into a heap. Two things hold me together: 1. I am expecting someone – who, ironically, I am intending to use wool to make things with; and 2. I am surrounded by people who, disturbed by a sudden flow of water, would turn in curiosity to stare. Dignity and pride are my saviours and I embrace them for all they are worth.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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