I like to watch the puddles gather rain.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Husband and I still weren't talking, both indignantly pissed at the other and it starts to storm. Sometimes, it's as if the weather itself is a reflection of a state of mind.  I'm caught in the excitement of a storm which induces an element of frenzy within me, a wild excitement as if the storm is a part of me.  Thing One is having his first ever sleep over at a friends and I'm trying and failing memorably to capture lightning in a photograph whilst hanging out of my bedroom window when Things Two and The Toddler join my pastime.  I feel invigorated by the storm, it's as if it sparks some kindle within me and if only for a few minutes I feel dangerously alive.

It doesn't last.  It never does.  The rain however lingers, wetting the now dark skies as I'm clock watching.  The doctors closes at 6.30pm, I don't have enough medication without that prescription. The Husband offers to go for me yet I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face, I'd love him to go for me yet whenever we're at war he seems to revel in highlighting how ridiculously useless at life I am.  The fury is dangerously smothering the fear.  It's hard enough to leave the house alone in daylight yet in the dark when it's near torrential rain?  The rational part of my brain knows it's easy.  It's only 0.8miles and it's downhill on the way there.  My stubborn streak is refusing to admit I need him and that i'm terrified.

The first half of the walk is fine, my internal narrator is behaving himself and I'm as ever bewildered just as to how you're supposed to walk in the rain and still see when you wear glasses, I can't see bugger all!  Yet I run out of internal small talk and it's dark, really dark.  I'm concentrating on breathing and how the rain is the perfect weather to cry in as it would go unnoticed, if you could cry that is. I'm exhausted, the previous day was busy and The Toddler was being an arse the previous evening.  I'm imagining footsteps behind me and envisaging cars ploughing into me every time I cross a road as I momentarily try to disengage the element of morbid fascination that has attached itself to the terror as the thought of not existing is as terrifying as it is momentarily exciting.  The paranoid thoughts weave a macabre seduction.  This is what happens when I go out alone.

I'm trying to concentrate, I temporarily Imagine going to a random pub, calling an old friend or simply walking and not stopping.  There's trains and buses and puddles in my thoughts. This is what happens when I go out alone.

To stay focused I start to count my steps, to keep my mind on the job so to speak.

Prescription collected, I'm stood in the chemist when an old woman joins the queue and randomly starts to tell me about her tinnitus and how it's literally driving her to the very brink of madness.  I'm momentarily struck dumb, I have an in ability to act normal when I'm nervous and I utterly dread people talking to me.  I nod and ah and step back, messing with my phone.  She takes a seat and starts the same conversation with another woman who's waiting for reflux meds for her baby yet when she goes the old woman turns to me and starts the same conversation again.  I rack my brain for something normal to say, as I try and sympathise trapped between the rock of despising ignorance so opting to be polite and the hard place of being utterly useless at social interaction.  I'd rather pull out my own eyelashes than be spoken to by a stranger. I listen as she tells me they can't do anything about it and that she can't sleep or watch tv.  It's relentless and she can't stand it.  I make stilted light conversation, as it's obvious her need for conversation trumps my awkwardness. I'm only half there really, trying to act appropriately is an effort at times.  Suddenly she's taking an unexpected turn in conversation and starts with 'I'm 82 you know' I nod and smile and then she starts to cry.  Yes, cry.  Oh buggerbuns.  She is telling my how she's 82 and has nobody, she's all alone and she hates it, she's so frightened because she is all alone.  She loaned family money and they never paid it back nor come to see her and people tell her she was stupid to do so and deserves what she gets.  There's nobody else around.  The need to comfort her yet the inability to do so is like glass in my throat.  She's 82, all alone, scared.  It's only just gone half past six yet it's pitch black outside and pissing it down outside and I can't compute how or why she'd be out in this.  My prescription is ready, I have things to do and I need to get home yet I felt rooted to the spot.  I had never seen the woman before and never would again.  She would have spoken to anyone who sat near her.  Yet, I felt somehow responsible for her, touched by the ferocious strength of her fragility.  I had nothing to give her.  Nothing that could help or change anything.  No magical words.  I needed to go yet couldn't just leave her.  I leaned forward, held her hand, hugged her and placed a kiss on her cheek.  It was all I had to give to her.  The only magical power I had was that of the heart.  To many it would be a natural step, yet I hate physical contact from strangers.  I can't even remember my dad ever hugging or kissing me and yet here I was, with a stranger.

I disappeared back into the dark wetness with a pain inside at how hopeless I felt.  Wishing I could have been more and done more.   I hope the pharmacy staff spared some time for her, she only wanted to chat to people.  I can't ever imagine being as brave as her.

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