It’s really cold and I don’t feel like walking the streets.
“Winter feels longer every year”, my mother used to say when I was growing up.
I didn’t understand, what with endless talks of global warming and my permanent lust for snow and a million layers of fabric worn one on top of the other.
Everything about winter, I loved. The crisp smell of ice in the air, the sound of my steps down the arch bridge linking our neighbourhood to the rest of town. Frozen waters underneath, ripples glistening dangerously as far as you could see, from up in the mountains at the mouth of the dam where I’d first tasted fear, and down towards lands unknown, closer to the heart of the country, where all my dreams of setting off on my own ended up taking me back then.
I recently saw some photos of Windsor during the big freeze of ’63. People cycling along a frozen river Thames, blurry arch bridge in the distance, and my first thought was of home and the winters I’d never felt lasted long enough.
These days, it’s really cold.
I’ve been falling ill every other week, killing myself at work, not getting enough sleep, struggling with potentially life altering decisions, and wishing, fervently wishing for this winter to end.
And what this means, I think, is that I’ve outgrown it, my winter love affair. Like I’ve eventually outgrown my end-of-the-world high school crush, and voila, I just might be ready now for a serious, responsible relationship with a less destructive season.
In other news, I have no clue what to do with myself.
I spend my days collecting people’s questions about my present architecture and my plans for the future. Where I see my career going, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, when we’re planning our first kid. They pile up, these wh-word centred topics, and I study them from a distance, breathing in and out at just the right pace, like everything’s absolutely normal and on the inside, I’ve got mountains of perfectly composed answers for everything.
But the truth is, I’m terrified.
I go to this office, I sit in this chair. I type words on this screen, and you know what? I don’t know where my career is going. Or if there’s a career to speak of. Or if it isn’t just a way of filling my days in between insomnias, because there’s plenty of hours out there and what else is a normal person to do but do something, anything with them.
I’m always happy and I’m always sad and that’s probably wrong in so many ways but I can’t help it, because I’ve made mistakes and I’ve made good choices, I’ve wanted things I never got and I’ve gotten things I didn’t know I wanted, and this is what life’s always been for me, a big mess of good and bad I’ve never managed to sort through.
There’s nothing stopping us from trying for a baby these days.
I put it off, ME.
I pluck the thought out of my mind, digging for the roots, burning every stray seed, until there’s no trace left. For a while, at least. And you know why? Because I’m afraid. Terrified, really. I mean, I’m a mess, but I’m also at least somewhat aware of how much of a mess I am, and I realise that adding a baby to the mix is probably not the best idea. So I wait. For what, I don’t know. The smoke to clear, the season to change, something, anything.
Forgive me, today hasn’t been a good day.