I could kill for a milky coffee right now, but I’m out of milk. The shop is no more than a two minute walk away and I have money in my pocket. The truth is, I can’t go! My legs or my head just won’t let me. My usual helpers ie my friends are all at work, I won’t be expecting a call to say they are popping in for a coffee, and therefore I can’t lie to them and say that I totally forgot to get milk on my way home and for them to swing by the shop via my house. The reason is I just can’t get my body or my mind to walk in there on my own.
My stomach is rumbling as it’s way past lunch, I reach my hand in my back pocket to grab some money, staring through the window at the street, watching the world go by, wanting so badly to open the door take ten steps, pick up a sandwich and enjoy it with the coffee I just made. I call to ‘Rachel’, one of my trainee staff , ‘Yes’ she sharply replies. ‘I need to call my supplier in the back office it’s really important, can you run over the road and grab me a sandwich please?’ She did not need to ask what I liked because all the staff working for me know, they have all been Rachel at some point in the past.
Chewing each mouthful without tasting. My mind takes me back to my to do list. VAT return, the wage slips from last month’s wages needed to be printed, then the sick feeling of remembering it’s Thursday. Because that means it’s only 3 more days till Saturday, Saturday I have been invited out with friends, something to eat, few drinks, good catch up. My heart beating faster and the feeling of my whole body turning into a bean bag and the beads gashing down from my head through my body to my feet that are now glued and heavy to the floor, my ears not hearing a sound and my eyes not registering what I’m looking at. I hope I have a good day on Saturday. I hope I can go out!
“Cab’s here”, my partner calls. My heart beating faster and faster, I try to remember how a real smile looks like. Smiling at them they say “You look great, I can’t wait to eat, I’m so hungry” for a split second my smile becomes real, I can hear what they just said to me and my heart slows. Aiming for the cab I silently tut thinking why could you not park right outside my flat, why do I need to walk 20 steps to get in you. Oh that’s right No-one knows my secret.
‘It’s so good to see you both’ our friends have wanted to arrange something for ages but have been cancelled last minute because I “had too much paperwork to do”, “a court battle to prepare for”, or “my Nan needed me last minute”. They believed my lies, so I believed me. The truth was I wanted to go more than anything in this world, but my body wouldn’t let me.
The conversation is flowing, I can taste every mouthful of my food, excited about the dessert. The wine slightly hitting my head and the compliments firing at me from our friends. ‘So are you busy?’ me answering at the top of my glory, telling them how I’m smashing business, in how I now employ 12 staff members, but trying to also play it down to a modest level and telling them that I still need to work really hard, gloating to them that I brought a watch just the other day, hoping they don’t realise that actually it was only an impulse buy and that on that particular day it was a bad one and I needed a happy release in some way. And that I can’t actually afford it.
I feel their proud voices talking to me, I feel good. If only they knew my secret! But the thought of trying to explain something I don’t even understand myself shatters me, Its best to show them the side of me they want to see, the me they can applaud and praise!
The shots keep coming and the music is loud, I can just about make out the lyrics, but it’s because of all the conversations around me that it muffles my ears, not because my brain shuts them down. My smile, my real smile, lasts hours. We’re all having such a good time, planning our next night out, our plans for a holiday. And even though I know different, I pretend for those precious hours that I am going to keep to my promises, hopefully they won’t think that I will once again cancel last minute. Maybe this time they will forget how busy I get, how things crop up in my life all of a sudden, maybe they won’t realise there is a whole other me they don’t know, hopefully they can just see the me I’m presenting now, this minute, this night. In the back of my mind hoping so very much that they cancel before me, that something crops up, or they are too drunk to remember what we have planned. Holding on to the fact that this might be the last time they put up with being cancelled, or worse they find the other me.
The adrenaline that I feel at that moment tells me that I am going to stick to my plans, I will have a good night! Then the sudden firework of an impulse and saying to myself…tell them, tell them who you are. My lips almost making a sound. ‘Shall we go dance?’ ‘Yes great let’s dance.’ It’s gone, it’s too late, maybe I’ll tell them another day. If that day comes.
Stretching out my body, my head starting to thump, I must be the only person to actually enjoy a hangover. I went out, I had fun! I’m me again! Getting out of bed, jumping in my tracksuit grabbing the left over change from last night I fly out the door!
Right I need bacon, I need eggs, sausages, and the Sunday paper. My feet are walking me to the local shop, my lungs feeling the cold air. My head is yes still banging but I don’t care, I’m walking, I’m walking and I’m free! I went out last night, I’m out today and its going to be a good day! I can see so many more days like this. No bad thoughts enter my head, I don’t care, I’m doing it, I’m strong. If I can run a successful business, run a home, fight a court battle, deal with my mum dying when I was young I can do anything! I can do this!
‘Morning’ the staff look at me in an almost shock but let’s not make it obvious way because they know that it is 8.30am and on the days I’m in early is a good one. They all know I’m in a good mood and that it will be such a good place to work in today.
Not needing to dart for a latte because I have had milk in the fridge all week now, I start by getting the staff motivated, reciting my to-do list and thinking I’m so happy that the only thing I need to do today is my job. Everything is done! Even my Tesco shop!
I hear everything, I enjoy the music, I’m laughing when I want to and not on cue. I have an opinion I don’t just agree. I feel free! Today I choose my own sandwich, today I taste the smoked salmon with the ever so slightly salted cream cheese. I crunch the granary bread with my teeth.
Two weeks of feeling great! My life is on track, my office is tidy, the takings are up!
The dreaded text message flicks on my phone,
‘Hey how are you? Are we still on for next Friday? I can’t wait!
My fingers hit the reply, blocking all the feelings of dread in the back of my mind I start to type….O wait that’s right, I can’t.
My fingers so badly want to say that I’m still on, my head wanting to convince myself, the voice pounding my ears saying ‘let her down now, you know you will anyway’
I tell myself to stop being silly, I’ve been great this week, I was good the week before, I’ll be ok next Friday! I’ll reply later!
Despite his claim to the contrary her new man clearly
didn’t understand the concept of foreplay. It was just as
well she hadn’t put Soixante-neuf on the menu....
Moses duck soon lost most of his followers
when they realised he had not actually parted
the water, it had just frozen overnight........