Tonight, I am alone downstairs while Jessica sleeps soundly upstairs. Carl is out. The house is quiet. I have eaten chicken stew, simply made, savoury, sustaining.
But it isn’t enough to hold back the tide this evening. I feel heavy with introspection. Depending on how you look at it, tomorrow I am either twice 17.5 or halfway to 70. You can guess where my mind is dwelling.
I know I am so lucky to have my life and my family and my friends…but…
I thought by now I would be living in a home that I own, that my family would be complete, that I would have found some deeper depth, written my novel…..
I should six months pregnant now. I am not. Family and friends are giving birth and announcing pregnancies, and here I am with nothing but an aching hurt where my baby should be.
Normally, I love birthdays, my own and other peoples. Carl usually has a little wobble on his but he sailed through this year. Instead it is me sitting here, on the brink of tomorrow. It feels like when the sun comes up tomorrow it will rise in a strange new land and that I will be a stranger there. Everything will be the same, but different.
I’ll make tea in a minute. Boil the kettle. Steep the tea. Stir, slowly. Raise the cup to my lips. Inhale, breathe in the steam and the faint traces of tea. Exhale. Close my eyes. Sip. Swallow. Again.
Sometimes making tea feels almost like throwing a lifeline out to yourself. Move like this, perform this dance, and everything will be ok.
My Mum gaves us the loveliest of birthdays when I was at home. I remember one year she gave me my gift while I was still in bed. She must have been so excited to see me open it, something I can only now truly appreciate, having had Jessica. It was a Barbie doll, a brand new one, a princess. I had wanted one so much but knew they were too expensive.
Our cakes were always a surprise, brought out after dinner. Sometimes heart shaped, a wonderfully light victoria sponge with a little hole cut in and filled with a tiny jam jar of early spring flowers from the garden. Borders of piped buttercream rosettes studded with those little silver balls, and the top flooded with glace icing. Candles, and a message pipednin icing too.
I wanted to go to Persephone Books tomorrow. To browse the shelves and choose a few treasures to take home. We won’t be going…but maybe next year. I just wish I knew how to stave off the feeling which has come creeping over me the last few years which seems to makee everything feel flat and disconnected.
It started one year when I had a bad birthday. Carl had moved his money into his savings account that month already so had no spare cash so I had to buy my own birthday breakfast. I wanted to go to hobbycraft (they were few and far between back then) and a farmmshop cafe place. It rained. We got lost. They had stopped serving food by the time we got there. I ended up with a ready meal on the sofa in my dressing gown for dinner. It felt so unlovely, so unspecial. And I think it has haunted me ever since.
I hope maybe by writing it down I can finally shake it off and just enjoy tomorrow? Come back and tell you it was a happy day filled with jolly moments and 35 isn’t so bad and I finally have an idea for my novel and……I hope.