Bitter-sweet

imageLast night it rained and it’s damp out this morning but milder too, which is a relief: I take my pleasures wherever I can find them these days, giving thanks for things I ordinarily would have dismissed. It’s strange how the weather, usually my top concern, is so far down my list and it has not escaped me how ironic this is.

It’s not that dissimilar to our house being trashed when we were employing someone to look after it; or us having to move because, despite having payed over the odds to secure a brand new luxury apartment from a top end agency, we have inadvertently ended up living above a nightclub in an environment that defies sleep; or my partner coming here to set up and attend important meetings and work one-to-one with clients and having to improvise on the go, meeting them in cafés and falling back upon his phone; or his phone (iPhone; unreliable, useless), important to his livelihood, slowly breaking, missing calls, cutting out and failing to ring, refusing, without headphones, to transport his voice; or his having his card cloned and used in Cambodia and his bank accidentally cancelling the wrong card because the clerk was also based somewhere like Cambodia and didn’t understand English beyond the scope of his script; or that leaving us high and dry until a new card could be posted and not having an address to post anything to; or looking forward to Christmas and going overboard with the decorating, only to realise that by the time we move decorating will be irrelevant as it will most likely be January; or wanting light in the mornings and evenings but not being able to open the blinds because there are always people talking, smoking, working outside; or eagerly anticipating cooking again after a break of three years only to discover the kitchen has also taken a vacation from which it is yet to return, limiting, in the meantime, all culinary endeavours to cold, ready-to-serve bits; or missing people who, upon seeing, you remember you needed to dismiss; or selecting and provisionally committing to courses – in psychology, in expressive therapy, in writing and in art – and not, because of everything that has been going on, keeps going on (relentlessly, endlessly), being able to afford it.

It continues, on and on… the duration endless. But I think the point is that there is so much happening and so much that is different from the intended plan, the direction of desired action, that the smaller things – like the temperature and the weather, the state of my nails and hair, the cold that won’t budge no matter how much I shove it – become insignificant. They’re just there, like traffic and people and cafés and shops. If you care to notice them: they are willing to share. But if you don’t, they won’t beg you for change like the people sleeping in doorways and corners every- which-where.

So Bad Luck is following me like a black cloud, like a stupid suitcase, and Irony, it’s BFF, is trailing close behind. And these things: the black luck, the cosmic and situational irony… are things I am aware of and things I am, for the most part, managing to fend off. It’s the flat that’s getting to me, as well as how not having a place to rest affects my partner’s mood. I am not a fan of Mr Unapproachable And Sharp-Edged and that’s who I am living with; along with Mr Mad As Hell, Mr Drop Dead Exhausted, Mr Snore The House Down, and Mr Drink Until I Fall Over. As for me: I’m guessing I’m Ms Cry too Much, Ms Trip And Stumble, Ms Emotionally Unstable; Ms Can’t Sleep, Can’t Think, and Ms Come And Save Me: Anyone, Everyone… Or perhaps things aren’t so bad and I am just exaggerating? All I know is that I was so tired last night, I got lost again; which consequentially so overwhelmed me that I retreated into the first safe place I found, nursing a coffee until my partner (for once a different kind of Mr – Distracted instead of Dangerous) came to my aid. That’s not me. That’s not normal behaviour. That’s not how I want or intend to operate: not now, not anymore, not again.

Since we’ve been here, it’s been bittersweet: one step forwards, two steps back; to the extent that we are both emotionally and physically drained. We look a mess, sound a mess, inhabit a mess and, like a magnet, draw additional mess towards us: lots of it, in fact. If mess were a good thing to have and collecting it advisable: we would be doing great. As it is, we are running to keep up and gradually breaking in the process.

If there is a God; if there is a Universe; if Fate is real and Karma deserved… do we not deserve a break? We are good people. We are trying to be even better. We care and we help and we share and we give. Have we not suffered sufficiently, experienced enough, to know and remember what suffering and disaster and heartbreak and trauma are all about? I would like to think so but I am not in charge of the natural order or the current state of things. So I sit and I wait and I listen and I learn and I try, as best as I am able, to endure it all with grace.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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