We spend so much of our time and energy at work that our real lives are lived on the periphery of our consciousness.
I came up with that statement. By myself. Noone helped. Although a big glass of vodka would have helped.
Ever since my holiday in August, I am finding it increasingly hard to accept that this is my life. I reckon I spend a total of 10 hours in the working week with my son. Between him, housework, work and watching tv, I think I spend about 5 hours with my husband, majority of that in the train travelling into work.
I am afraid to sleep. I can’t be wasting precious hours sleeping. So I make a point of falling asleep on the sofa with the tv on until 1 am, because that isn’t really sleeping. I am making most of life. Living on the edge.
I don’t really have time to be tired. I am too busy.
The sky is a beautiful bright blue, but not so blue that it hurts my eyes. The air is heavy with sunlight. The cool wind tickles my nostrils. My lips taste delicious, salty. I feel the grainy sand between my fingers and scoop it up in my hands. I love the ocean’s whisper as it crashes against the shore.
I lay there with my eyes closed. Pattering little feet come and go but I am not curious about them.
I feel the sky turn purple. I hear the hush of sunset. I long for a warm blanket.
Yet I lay there with my eyes closed. Passionate murmurs do not tempt me.
I lay there until my head clears of conflicting thoughts. My heart is strong once again, young and brave. The scars of survival fade away. The ocean’s whisper returns my innocence.
Slowly I open my eyes. The whitewashed ceiling is unforgiving. And it is all back again, the confused mind, the unending lethargy, the search for meaning. I am once again a patched-up little girl trying to learn the rules for living.
Colleague A: I have a cat. Her name is frog.
Colleague B: That would really confuse my child, I would have to say ‘This is frog, it’s a cat!’
Colleague A: She keeps jumping into the bath that I have drawn up for myself.
Colleague B: Well, she is probably thinking ‘They call me frog, I might as well act like one’. If someone asks you to name a child, you should refuse.
Have you overheard any odd conversations today?
I look into your beautiful brown eyes and can’t look away. Your hands are perfectly formed. I lie down next to you so that I can inhale every breath that you exhale. I wonder at the miracle that binds us together.
Every time we are apart I long to see you again. A look on your face and a crack in your voice is enough to break my heart. When you hold my face in your hands, I am overcome with a love I almost cannot bear. I could never have imagined that a love like this existed; I could never have guessed at its depth or anticipated its strength.
Every day that we are together, my son, I thank a God I don’t believe in. Every day, my son, I love you a little bit more. You have stolen my heart and my soul, my son and made me a more beautiful person since that cold day in September two years ago when I first met you.
“Mein koi aisa gee gaoon, ke…”
Baby boy and I were watching the boats on the river from the balcony, when this song came on and I was overwhelmed by a powerful wave of nostalgia.
The sun beating down on my face, the tip-tap rhythm of my school shoes, chatter of school girls all around me and another little hand in my hand while we went round and round the school grounds. My best friend forever teaching me a song.
We were inseparable, hung out with each other every chance we got, sung our little hearts out together. We even wrote letters to each other for 2 years while we lived in different countries.
Then we stopped being friends, abruptly stopped talking to each other. Life moved on, my memory of her became just a pang of regret, nothing more.
Now many years later, we have started talking again, matured by our years apart. We may never be best friends again but maybe there was enough love in our little girl friendships that will see us through.
Baby boy and I twirl round the room. “Mein koi aisa geeth gaoon, ke…”.
The London Underground (the Tube) is 151 years old. It is the third largest metro system in the world and handles about 4 million passenger journeys per day. I am one of those people. I use it every day. And everyday I wish I could say 10 things to other ‘tubers’ (Does that sound a bit wrong?)
- Please do not wrap yourself around the handle bars. The tube people have put it there for short people like me hold on to, not for you to show off your burlesque skills.
- Could you move your armpit ever so slightly away from my face?
- I am sure your book is fascinating, but can I suggest you hold on to the yellow handlebars in order to avoid crashing into me very 2 mins? Yes, the yellow ones, thank you.
- I worry about your hearing, really I do, because even my ears are hurting from listening to your music. And did you really think listening to that is cool?!
- I am glad you made it just as the doors were closing but could you maybe not pant in my face, that onion bagel you had this morning is making my eyes water.
- What an absolutely beautiful bag, I would have admired it a bit more if it wasn’t forcing my ribs apart.
- Seriously, how long has it been since you washed your hair?! I am only asking becasue half of it is up my nose.
- When pregnant women put their big bellies next to your face,you ridiculously large muscled man sitting in the priority seat, they aren’t expecting you to kiss their bump.
- Would you be so kind as to turn your paper slightly more to the right so I too can read what the Duchess did with her hair this weekend? Thanking You.
- Now this is a tricky concept, but the doors open at every station to allow passengers in and out. Please don’t take it as a challenge to see how much of the open door you can block.
When I was young, I loved to love love. Life was all about the voracious reading of love stories, the soft light of dawn, the splatter of rain drops, a stolen look, the giggling of girlfriends, a shared smile, heartbreak. Youth stretched out indefinitely ahead.
With each passing year, however, the Paulo Coelho stories became a little less inspiring, the magic realism of solitude, a little more unrealisitic. Life slowly became the chaotic clamour of a hundred little fights, sleepless nights after a baby is born, incessant cleaning, stacks of dirty dishes, coughs and colds, an annoying manager, a million microwaved meals, packing lunchboxes, ironing, inflation, changing immigration rules. Life becomes about survival. Surviving the mindlessessness of those hundred little fights, finding a moment’s relief in a hug, looking for redemption in a single thought that strings it all together, hoping for a minute of reflection in a constant juggling act. It never comes. The fight for survival stretches indefinitely ahead and the path is for you to tread, alone.