I was supposed to go out with friends for a friend’s birthday. It was all going to plan, until I had a bath.
And then it came.
A massive wave that lashed harshly, hurtfully over me, over and over again. Quiet tears at first. Then, laid on the bed, gentle, ebbing, slow, but increasing, like the shipping forecast, increasing, becoming variable.
I decide, strewn on the bed, not to go out. I just can’t face normal life. Not right now. I thought I could, ten minutes ago. But no. The dogs, sensing something is wrong, come and lay with me, licking and nose nudging for attention, distraction, consolation, and an ever stranger sense that they know I’m upset and that they even know that it’s because I’m missing them. The ‘missing ones’, the ones they can still smell and sense and wonder about in their bedrooms.
I text my friend to say sorry, l’m ‘tired’. It’s like the tabloid ‘tired and emotional’, meaning drunk as a stunk. It’s so much easier to say ‘tired’ than say I simply can’t face leaving the house.
Then, with the release of not going out, I put my PJs on, put a wash on, mix a gin and tonic and begin to relentlessly cry.
The tears accompany me at first, like a supporting actor, a side to the main story. Then they come stronger, closer, as though circling around me, before lunging in for the kill. For sure, I’ve got used to them coming now, 925 days later. The rushing waves, the incessant pounding of the salty, cold water on my face. I carry on making my solo tea (Trace is away, it’s just me and the dogs) and the waves continue to come inland. Steady, but increasing, relentless. Becoming unwelcome.
I eat my tea (Ikea veggie meatballs) in front of X Factor. The dogs hanker for their share and the tears continue. They’ve gone to force 9 now. Every little, tiny moment of the Saturday night TV dinner remind me of them and the tears stream.
Then Izzy comes in from her Starbucks shift and slumps on the sofa. Minutes later, Beth comes back from her shift at Bill’s. I look for them, I search for them. I look at the empty, silent sofa.
And then the tears become angry. A rage of tears, like a roaring pride of lions. I’ve gone beyond crying. I weep. Surging, painful thrusts from my abdomen up, tears streaming down my face, i thrash out. I punch the sofa repeatedly, then the hard floor.
‘I don’t want this, I don’t want this,I don’t want this’.
I shout this out-loud, in the genuine hope, that, if I shout it loud enough, it will stop, and I’ll find zen like peace.
The dogs retreat to their kitchen bed, as though they know they can do no more and that they need to leave me alone with my raging grief and X Factor.
Eventually, slowly, the rage passes, releases me. I get up, unload the washer, put the dryer on. I cry softly throughout. Gentle, not angry tears, but somehow harder tears to bear, because they acknowledge the permeance of this situation.
I press play on Sky again, skip the ads and carry on watching X Factor, series 5 billion, still through watery teary eyes, a bleary lense effect on Simon Cowell and the new series judges.
Izzy’s sat on the green sofa next to me. She laughs. She likes the latest contestant. Probably because she fancies them. Beth yawns.
And I carry on crying, gently sobbing.
Maybe I should made myself go out, see my friend for their birthday, rather than lying in a pool of tears?
I write this up through Jonathan Ross.
Beth, then Iz say ‘night night’ and go to bed.