All the Tiny Pieces

For a while, all days are alike.

No spilled coffee, no heart attacks, no surprise breakups. A monotony I enjoy. As time goes by, I relax. It turns out that after the initial shock, it’s easy to get used to peace and quiet.

Then someone has a miscarriage.

As I listen to the story, and it slowly seeps into every layer of our lives together, I remember. Peace and quiet come and go. The thought shocks me. The not knowing, the “out of the blue” of it all.

*

Coffee helps.

I’m back to my daily cup of black after many years, less for the taste or the energy kick and more for the comfort of hot, familiar sips from a hot, familiar cup in between morning office dramas.

Everybody fights in this place. We’re not here to make friends, we’re here to thump our chests and blow our trumpets. We’re here to prove we can very well function with no regard to common courtesy, common sense or workplace noise regulations. We’re here. We’re loud. We’re disgusting. Espresso break, anyone?

*

When I’m not stuck in head-splitting meetings for hours on end, empty cup in hand and dreaming of bucketsful of freshly brewed, or maybe picturing myself strangling various suit-clad big-mouths, well, I’m determined to enjoy myself.

Two weeks of sun, and summer is done and dusted around here. Since we’ve returned from holiday we’ve been mostly staying in in the evenings, cooking and sipping wine in front of the TV. We go to bed at normal hours for once, and wake up before the alarm goes off. We’re rarely in a rush to anywhere.

On the train, we read. V about his crimes and zombies, as I’m wolfing my way through Julian Barnes, Toni Morisson and Harper Lee, and more slowly, finally making time for the Penguing Clothbound Classics editions of Jane Austen’s novels. They’re so pretty, these Clothbounds, that I find myself breaking my reading to wash or squirt hand sanitizer gel in my pamls yet again, just in case.

*

In other news, it seems that everybody around us is…, well, something is definitely going on with everybody.

Those who aren’t divorcing or redefining their relationships in the most unexpected terms – erosion, sophisticated, detrimental – well, those who happen to be at ease with their current matters of the heart, are selling their unaffordable houses to invest in even more unaffordable ones, leaving their stressful jobs for more stressful ones, all the while feeling sorry for themselves and very much above every other creature walking the earth.

It may be the permanent craving for change, for a challenge, the thirst for more something – anything. It’s meant to motivate us to keep going, to not succumb to depression. In which case I’m probably depressed as can be and don’t know it. As I’m not divorcing, nor craving for bankruptcy, nor do I understand the need to make my life more difficult on purpose in any way.

Yes, I’m well aware that perhaps everybody’s just acting the way perfect, respectable grownups should and I’m the one missing the plot.

*

The good news is, if things do go wrong and I end up bankrupt, divorced and/or homeless, I’ll be able to turn my life around and start a potted succulent plants venture.

I must be doing something right in the world, because the three bite-sized succulents we bought when we moved in last year, are pretty much the size of pineapples now and have grown countless plump, juicy babies which have in turn claimed their own teracotta pots and spots on various shelves and ledges.

It’s things like these that make me happy these days. Fat, nail sized leaves the colour of sea water. A book bound in bright yellow cloth. The kettle boiling. The last flashes of London summer, just as we’re temporarily relocating our complicated relationship in a few weeks time, for another quick break in the sun. Oh, and Thursdays. Thursday and happy simply belong in the same sentence, don’t they?

Happy Thursday, everyone!

 

Call Me Crazy…

…but I think Dr. Seuss might be working in my office.

I love my job!

 

Dr. Seuss

I love my job. I love the pay!I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss, he is the best!
I love his boss and all the rest.I love my office and its location. I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!
I think my job is swell, there’s nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.
I love my computer and its software; I hug it often though it won’t care.
I love each program and every file, I’d love them more if they worked a while.I’m happy to be here. I am. I am.
I’m the happiest slave of the Firm, I am.
I love this work. I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores.
I love my job – I’ll say it again – I even love those friendly men.
Those friendly men who’ve come today, in clean white coats to take me away!

A Million Grains of Sand

It takes me about an hour to adjust.

First I water the plants. I always think they know if I don’t do it straight away. I sense them as I walk around the place stuffing things in drawers, disappointed and vengeful, wilting their leaves hurriedly, on purpose, just to spite me. I remove dead petals, prod at the compost, sprinkle plant food.

Then I unpack the suitcase. I load the washer, return sandals and flip flops to the shoe closet, perfume bottle to the vanity top, half read books to our nightstands. An impossibly intricate sea shell to the already overflowing bowl on the coffee table.

One or two things still smell like the sea. But mostly it smells like home. Furniture wax and a fresh bottle of red breathing on the kitchen counter, fabric softener and basil, a hint of geranium through the living room windows.

I feel rested. A new, unexpected state of affairs.

Static

This is something that happens.

I wake up one morning and instead of sipping my coffee with a slice of the BBC News, I sip it with a slice of toast. I reach the station and instead of scrolling up and down my Facebook wall tapping my foot at yet another delayed train, I stroll up and down the platform looking at strangers, imagining histories, secrets and favourite colours. I walk to the office, headphones and podcasts safely tucked in my handbag, listening to the hum of morning traffic. This is something that happens. I wake up one morning and for no apparent reason change a little thing, then another. Forty something days later I’m still online-free, social-media-free, current-affairs-free and feeling like I’m actually thinking real thoughts and seeing real specks of light. It happens.

I’ve been meaning to write. I have all these stories. I sit and look at them, play them over in my mind, change a word here and there, but that’s as far as I go. They remain floating above my keyboard, growing invisible roots and branches.

I think I’m just waiting for my thoughts to settle. Not long now.