In the early hours of only just Day 2, I’d risen, pretty much sleepless, fretful and utterly, unashamedly afraid to face the day, at 7am. Give or take.
I lifted my feet out of our familiar bed into a newly still, utterly quiet ghost town, an uncertain swaying new found land, that was, it seemed, constantly wavering and wobbling, as though I was getting up still drunk, held in the aftermath of the night before.
Our bedroom carpet had been remodelled, stricken an uncertain stormy sea, opening out ahead of me, torturous, frightening. My first steps from our bed weren’t the usual, reassuring steps that showed me I’d woken from my floating subconscious to my every day’s, tangibly real terra firma. Instead, they felt like gravity was playing with me, toying with me, fooling me, into some new floating, ambient reality that was completely and wholeheartedly unreal, with absolutely no gravity at all. Laws of physics need not apply.
To be fair, I’d not exactly slept much. I had stoically declined the sedative drugs prescribed by our GP, on her maiden visit to our house, around 10pm, to our wailing, at times screaming, traumatised house, on Friday 26th February, 2016. I suppose I felt like I should be the one to be there in the morning. To hold things together.
So, I sat there, on the edge of the bed and unknowingly, at a purely cerebral level, I counted out my first few steps to the partially ajar bedroom door. 3? Maybe 4, max. I lifted myself up and stood up, my bare feet pressing into the eminently practical woven thread of our bedroom carpet. I paced out the handful of steps towards the bedroom door and then ventured out into the widening, gulf like sea of the hallway. I was taking my first few baby steps into this very real, surreal world, into my now and forever world of ‘After’.
I guess my left hand must have brushed the bannister as I descended the stairs; stairs felt by my bare feet, as the same familiar woven thread as our bedroom. But I don’t really remember.
All I really remember about the start of Day 2, was that, as usual, at the start of every day, I swept the black slate of our family kitchen floor.
This was my early morning ritual. I’d set the coffee beans to grind in the noisy coffee grinder (too noisy as Izzy complained everyday) and as the kettle boiled, I swept away the previous day’s kitchen debris.
And listened to Radio 4.
On Saturday February 27th, 2016, Radio 4 news announced the deaths of three Britains, who had died at a waterfall in Vietnam. They announced the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were: “providing support to the families of three British nationals following their deaths”. It was a brief news report, no more than a few seconds of Radio 4 airtime.
And as I listened, I swept our grey black slate kitchen floor – always a bugger to get it to look like it had been properly swept, with all its nooks and crevices, it really did require considerable focus and diligent brush strokes to get at all the bits, especially those bits in between the slates, always tricky. And funnily enough, the usually crystal clear digital audio of our DAB radio had suddenly become muffled and distant, as though it had been intercepted by static interference, or taken over by some rogue radio frequency, distorting its normally digitally reliable quality.
I pressed more heavily than usual on the broom handle.
This was Day 2.