She was no longer that happy creature who in earlier youth wandered with me on the banks of the lake and talked with ecstasy of our future prospects. The first of those sorrows which are sent to wean us from the earth had visited her, and its dimming influence quenched her dearest smiles.”― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
When I had a normal life and a husband, there is nothing I loved more than to be alone. I would grab these rare opportunities wherever I could, and this was difficult being married to someone who really didn’t need ‘alone time’. If I went upstairs to have a bath and was taking too long, shouts of -“ When will you come back down?”- Or “hurry up, I’m lonely”- would be heard. Eventually if I was taking way too long, I would find I had a visitor who would sit and chat away to me. I remember my younger years of flat-sharing with Laura and party years with Tara and we would always follow each other into the bathroom to keep the other shower taker or bath sitter company. Really because we couldn’t bear to be away from each other (we still can’t) and we would have a good old chat. Some of our best chats or dissections of the night before took part in these bathrooms. So it made me happy that in a way, my life with James was no different
I can now hardly stand to be alone at all. This is usually covered. Come Saturday there is usually someone or other on my doorstep around nine, ready to come in and take part in the now standard Saturday morning pancake making ritual, this trend seems to have spread throughout the whole pod. I am out a few evenings a week and the ones I’m not, I quite enjoy as I get a chance to write or watch as many episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’ as I like without being told I’m exhausted and must go to bed. I can even get away with watching ‘Made in Chelsea’, without James telling me “You must know that I am judging you,” or “I’m going to tell all your intellectual work colleagues that this is what you do with your evenings.” Mostly the bases are all covered but sometimes there are gaps. I do NOT like these times. And yet somehow my friends seem to be able to smell these coming even before I do, as I sit down ready to tuck into my occasional single chicken breast and portion of peas for one a loud rap on the door is to be heard. Often I will have barely opened the door and a line of visitors will file past to the sound of bottles clanging. Sometimes it’s just one visiter, and sometimes it’s one and a half, but they come.
It reminded me of another difficult time I experienced a few years ago. I was having a terrible time at work amongst other things. In an effort to make it better for me, James came home with the above work of art. The artist made a miniature figure (supposed to be modelled on J’s description of Flynn) in a glittery swimming pool with a banner above. It says: THE WORLD IS A SCARY PLACE, BUT I HAVE ARMBANDS. Ironically I can’t swim, (this is being remedied by my friend Cinders) it was never an issue as on all our holidays James would be in the pool with the kids and I, well I had very important reading to do by the pool and needed way more help getting a tan than the five minutes it took to turn his skin copper.
Right now the world is a monstrous place and scary and yet despite the fact I can’t swim, I’m not sinking. I don’t often allow myself a moment of pride, but sometimes, when I think of it, I think Jimmy Anderson and I must have done something right to have ended up with this lot.
For Amanda Morgan, for helping me float.