On Wanting To Run Away
August 10, 2012 in Love
It’s one of those days – let’s call it a Friday – where you got a decent night’s sleep for a change, and the sun is out, and by 8am you’ve done the dishes (including cat food bowls) and you’ve fed the cats and discussed with them whatever’s going on outside in Cat World, and you’ve washed and shaved and maybe listened to some radio people talking about politics. And then a cough reminds you where you are. You’ve been in your head for a couple of hours, planning shit or writing things or just marvelling at life, and then a cough breaks through your head and then you remember.
You sit and take a break at your front door – sitting on your single stoop, drinking some tea, smoking a cigarette, and you listen to the world slowly get into gear on what’s looking like the warmest day of the Summer so far, and fuck – you know, you could do with a holiday. You can’t remember the last time you had one, and that day you spent down at the beach off-season in 2001 seems like decades away, and that’s technically the last day you had a break from everything that normally surrounds you. Jobs after that? Well, they didn’t give you paid holidays, and you needed the money and you were good then – as you are now – at telling yourself “some day, some day soon” and that mantra healed the need.
The coughing gets more regular and you’re shaken from your doorstep reverie. You’re not on a beach alone, or with someone you want to hold hands with. You’re back on your doorstep, still in the sun and your hand-rolled, skinny little cigarette has gone out, and your tea’s getting cold, so you shake yourself down mentally and stand up and prepare for another day of care. Care where you never get a break. Care where you never get a day off. Care where every penny counts, and even if you wanted to jump on a bus or a train – even if you had that time to yourself – well, you couldn’t afford it. Spending that money on yourself? Just so you could change your surroundings for a day? That money is loaded with guilt already.
You feel trapped in a maze of care.
You try not to cry, because that’ll just anger the person you care for, because that’s how they roll these days. You fight back the tears and when they awaken, you make them some tea and slap on something approaching a smile, but one that never reaches your eyes. You talk about the day already, how warm it is. You make them some breakfast. Some more tea. You look at the surroundings, how they rub against your eye and pull your mind with the deadweight of familiarity. You don’t talk about having a day off (and believe me – you don’t even dream of a week, or two, that really is Fantasy Island) because they’ll take it as a slight against them, and you hate yourself for being political with the person you love, always guarding your words lest they cause some offence you never knew could be triggered. So you just get on with things. You do things around the house. Around the garden, because God knows when it’s going to be this nice again. And being out in the garden is sort of holiday-ish, you pretend to yourself. It’s away from the coughing. The noise of a television blaring out. The sound of someone not living, but barely existing, and almost beyond help. Someone who doesn’t want any help that isn’t yours. Someone who flies into a rage when you even touch upon someone helping you care for them, someone who doesn’t want anyone else in their house apart from you and cats. Someone who doesn’t even want you talking to neighbours any more.
You look at their face. You see the pain. Your heart breaks again, like it does daily.
You put thoughts of holidays, of days off in the sun, at the back of your mind. You know that holidays will probably come when they die, and that thought horrifies you, and you don’t want to associate the joy of a different place with that. That would spoil the future. So you just bury that shit deep. You don’t tell anyone that you yearn to walk along a beach – in any sort of weather – either alone or with someone who cares for you. You can’t imagine someone caring for you, ever. It’s been so long caring for someone else, you’ve forgotten your own needs. Yeah. Just walking together, hand in hand, on a beach you’ve never been on before, with the wind in your hair and the roar of the sea in your ears, and you hold that picture in your head, and you bury it, and you get on with things, because things always need done.
And you want to run away. You want to just start running and never look back. You’ve got everywhere to go to and nowhere to be. You want to just feel a sense of freedom again. You want to run until your lungs burst and your legs begin to betray you. And you never want to look back. Never. You want to pick your own direction, a direction unshackled.
Love keeps you still. Here. There. It binds you. It’s not a misplaced sense of duty. It’s love. For another. And until whenever, holidays can wait. You bed down that particular dream and get on with things. You tell yourself, as you’ve told yourself for more than a decade now, about “someday, soon” and you just get on with things.
You cry about this later, in private.