I am finding it impossible this morning to find words to describe how I feel right now that don’t sound mundane or whingeing. Sitting in the garden just now with my espresso and my cigarette, I contemplated just not bothering with this today. But I made a pact with myself at the beginning of this year that I would journal every day, even if I did self-censor it to protect the innocent and those I work with in my day job. And I realised, as the sun warmed me occasionally, in the gaps in the clouds, that there would be no point just papering over the cracks (a phrase I first learned in my History O-Level class when I was 15 in relation to Metternich’s foreign policy if I remember correctly) and just writing some inconsequential half-truths (or half-lies depending on how you look at it).
Almost a year to the date that I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating stomach pains, I did so again at about 3:30 this morning. Downstairs to get some paracetamol, drink lots of water, step out into the garden. Back to bed. No sleep. Back downstairs. Tempted to do Wordle at 4am but resisted, and read the paper online instead, and did some social media. The pain eases. Back to bed. Curl up in foetal position. Feel cold. Sleep doesn’t come until maybe 5. Wake up as my alarm’s beeping is into the low tens at 7:30. Turn it off. Covered in sweat. Get up gingerly, wander downstairs, and this time do Wordle (in 4, for the sake of completeness), Scholardle (in 4, too), and Absurdle in 6 (I’ve only ever done it in only 5 once). Try to work. That’s a slow effort. Go back inside. Talk to M who is worried about me. Back outside. Back inside. Breakfast. Coffee. More human now. Less pain now. It will pass. My body is too susceptible to stress of all kinds, and all kinds of stresses are crowding in around me now. The irony is that this happens a lot when I’m about to have time off. I shout at myself (or speak quietly to myself) in my head to get through it breathe slowly and deeply, try to start the routine again.
C, one of our daughters, sent me a massive cookie for Fathers’ Day yesterday, much to big for me to eat all on my own (I mean, seriously large). So I cut half of it into three pieces and took those pieces to the three men who are my neighbours and fathers. I just wanted to share the joy. I felt slightly foolish, especially when I asked for selfies (which I promised not to put on social media) so I could show C the men I had shared the cookie with. The point, for me, was not just to share C’s kindness, but to show my appreciation for them as neighbours and friends (they have been incredibly kind and hospitable since we moved here), and to acknowledge that being a father is not easy (nor is being a mother), and that I’m very very conscious of the fact that we all have our fatherhood struggles. It felt natural to be like this, and I’m glad, very glad, I did it.
There are some brightnesses.
It’s now ten hours later, and I’ve still not started Aggie.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 125