Twenty to midnight. This is the last thing I should be doing. But I'm here, at this screen, fingers fumbling over buttons.
So this is the crux - I find myself at that place, the place of no return, where I am scattered to the wind a thousand times over, waiting for the pieces to blow back into a self again. I tried to hold it, and I couldn't. I tried to keep it in a shape that still looked pleasing to the eye, that could bathe my ears in a comforting sound. But it broke out, and now we're all running.
Looking at it another way - it's a late night, after a hard weekend, following a tough break-up and too much alcohol. Hardly surprising if my heart's on the floor (better sweep it up with tomorrow's litter). Another day blinks at me, and we all find a way through.
In a week it'll be two years since Mum's final stroke, two years that she's been lying staring out of that goddamn window, without a thing we can do about it. Two years since I last heard her utter a word, or since she looked at me and I could say "Mum, I love you" and know that she hears me. Two fucking years. So I'm parentless, childless, a plastic duck bobbing on top of the bathwater.
It's also, unbelievably, almost six months since David died. I can't really think about him, but the loss works on me in inexplicable ways, twisting my life in its hands.
Today I walked with friends through caverns of green, emerging into sunlight, down lanes, unwinding, winding. A sip of pale ale, a search for cream tea, heat and damp, rain and warm. England at its most omniscient, its most lordly; giving of itself; springing into skylarks, whooping over hedgerows. Breaking out the wheat fields into dappled joy.
I know the grace that surrounds me, the friends who love me, friends I could not do without. So I sit and I listen, watch summer run its course, feel it lean in and whisper. And everywhere buttercups offer themselves up to us, as they tear across Sussex meadows.
And I remember, how two years ago, I stood on the bank of a Hawarden stream, gathering posies under the hazy blue sky. I made buttercups into a shiny yellow fist, took them to the hospital. Behind white curtains, under the rhythmic pulse of the ventilator tube, I placed them in a vase for my mother. They were the yellowest things I had ever seen.
My sisters and I gathered around, clucking and fussing. And if she ever opened her eyes and looked our way, we smiled. I might have shown the buttercups to her, placed them under her chin till they glowed. But she was a closed, quiet flower, petals sleeping - a perfect stalk, returning underground.