Richard Pierce

Life, Writing

Day 236

What is self-care, really? Is it taking things easy, or is it approaching things at the same pace all the time but thinking more about how you do things? Or is it simply not spending any time thinking, overthinking? That’s where Aggie came from, really, from this idea, that we’d all be much happier if we spent no time thinking and analysing at all. Although she’s still nowhere near the end of her journey. But it’s almost impossible not to think, and I have to say that I have, over the last couple of days, thought long and hard about whether or not to consign this blog and Aggie to the scrap heap of my unsuccessful projects. Because the paradox is that I spend a large amount of my days thinking about what I’m going to write here the next day, and a lot of the time the words that curl around my head like the smoke in TS Eliot’s Prufrock just seem superfluous and useless and whingy. And I wonder if the physical issues I have right now are related to this constant need to find words to put on these blank pages every day.

There’s another side to this, too. There is hardly any hand-written material in either of my journals right now, because all my thoughts get poured into this. The issue with that is that the hand-written material was never self-censored, whilst this here is. And to an extent this means that I’m not actually pouring everything out onto some page or another. And, following this course logically, that means that I’m not actually letting go of a lot of things, which then stay worries inside me – maybe that’s the real explanation for my body’s current rebellion. But staying up late and scribbling illegible curses into my journal is not going to be the answer. And lifting the veil of self-censorship certainly is not the answer either. This is something for me to discuss in my therapy sessions later.

One irritation I want to mention – USB-C. Yes, it’s great that it doesn’t matter which way up you plug the cable into your phone, but the connection is shite, in truth. Once again, I’ve got up this morning, and the phone hasn’t charged, although, when I put it down last night, the old Thor lightning bolt was showing on its battery icon. This is all down to the inferior USB-C fit, and it’s very annoying indeed (and before anyone says anything, I am using the original cable supplied with the phone). That’s my gripe for the day.

I just popped across to my dear friend Ren’s blog for today. She couches her daily impressions in such rich and poetic language, which I seem not to be able to do with mine; well, not most of the time anyway. You must read her and her poems. She is an artisan. On that note…



Morning. Dawn is not yet above the horizon, and the cathedral is nothing but a dark smudge against a slightly lighter background. Aggie can see it in the mirror on the other wall, for the brief moment she drags herself away from looking at the sleeping Lilibet. She can’t stop tracing her lover’s cheekbones with her index finger, so lightly she’s sure Lilibet can’t feel it, so tenderly she won’t wake her. Aggie had been paralysed by the woman’s beauty all night, still aches from the touches and embraces and kisses and tears they shared after they closed the door behind them. And now she has to contemplate leaving, has to leave, will be flying across a vast expanse of water and danger into what could be a lion’s den of deceit and death. She sighs, quietly.

Lilibet stretches, yawns, opens her eyes. ‘It’s still dark.’

Aggie nods. Leans down and places a soft kiss on Lilibet’s lips.

‘You didn’t sleep?’

Aggie shakes her head.

Lilibet frowns. ‘That’s still too weird to understand. Maybe you should see a doc.’

Aggie shakes her head again. Kisses Lilibet again.

‘Why aren’t you speaking?’ Lilibet says.

Aggie shrugs.

‘Stop playing games.’

Aggie kisses her again, deeply, and her hands slide down under the covers. Lilibet gasps. They both gasp.

And now it’s light.

‘You are allowed to talk,’ Lilibet says.

‘I know,’ Aggie says, lays her head on Lilibet’s shoulder. ‘But I didn’t want to stop your voice from brightening the day. My voice is too rough for beauty.’

‘I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.’ Lilibet strokes Aggie’s hair. ‘I can’t wait till you’ve got your natural colour back.’

‘Lack of colour and pigmentation, you mean,’ Aggie says.

‘Stop being a pedant.’

‘I can’t help it.’

‘We can all help most of the things we do,’ Lilibet says, carries on stroking Aggie’s hair. ‘You will have to take me to the cathedral when you get back. During the day. So I can see it all. When we’re all at peace again.’

Aggie doesn’t move, doesn’t want this moment to end. ‘Oh, yes, peace. I remember that.’ She sighs again. ‘I don’t want to leave today.’

‘Do you have a choice?’ Lilibet kisses Aggie’s hair. ‘Do we have a choice?’

‘We could do nothing and just wait for death to come.’

‘You don’t really mean that, do you?’

‘No.’ Aggie reaches up and strokes Lilibet’s arm that’s caressing her hair. ‘And despite everything, I’ve never felt this much at peace. That makes it even harder to leave. I imagine spending the whole day in bed, with occasional visits to the kitchen, frequent visits under the covers, a hand-on-hand stroll through the city and the fog of our breaths mingling in the sunshine, finding a solitary bench somewhere and watching the rest of the world watch us and be happy for us.’

‘You should be a poet,’ Lilibet says.

‘Perhaps I already am, and you just don’t know it. And nobody knows it.’ Aggie laughs. ‘And not even my own language.’

‘It’s the language of love you speak best.’

‘The Scottish poet speaks.’ Aggie pulls Lilibet’s face down to hers. ‘God, I love your accent.’ She kisses her hard, releases her. ‘I love you.’

‘I love you, too.’ Lilibet jumps out of bed. ‘And now we’d better get on with this damn day.’

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