I was walking down the street last night, in the rain.
The weather was horrible; howling wind, pelting sleet and freezing cold. I was wearing something warm, so that wasn’t a problem. I was out walking in the rain as I had my head lodged so firmly up my arse there was simply nothing else for it.
I walked along the river, where I love to walk, cursing and muttering to myself.
I noted a place where a sixteen-year-old girl had recently lost her life. I noted those feelings I feel when I feel bad for something that’s happened. A feeling of sadness and confusion, mixed with feelings of hope that I never have to be that parent, mixed with the acknowledgement that, even though I’m in a foul mood, I’m nowhere near feeling that bad.
I walk on. The rain is spitting into my face, I’m walking so fast I’m impressing myself. At least this is exercise, I think. On my way back up town I see well-dressed folk going into busy restaurants. I curse them and their well-turned-outedness. A friend greets me with a chirpy “Hiiiiii”, I see her almost too late. She looks amazing and smells so good I can still get her scent several feet on up the street. I curse her and her pristine appearance, aware how Quasimodoesque I am, in my thought and in my words, in what I have done …
But that’s just it, I haven’t done anything. I’m having what’s known as “one of those days” and I’m buying into every clichéd feeling that comes with these “holidays”.
I got no easter egg, I mutter to myself. Why does everyone else get one but me?
I like chocolate, bastards. Why didn’t I get invited somewhere for a nice roast turkey dinner? Bastards, I spit to myself, hunching further up the road till I get home. I’m having a tantrum, and nobody’s going to stop me.
I’m the proud Mammy of two large youths. I love them, I wouldn’t swap and all that, yes I’m blessed, lucky, I know, I really do. My kids are at that age when they hang about the house, doing their own thing and I’m the catering and housekeeping department. I indulge in classic thoughts of “sure they don’t even know I’m here” and “surely they wouldn’t notice if I went off somewhere for the weekend”. But they would, and they do know I’m here and I have to be here, and I’m lucky and I know all that.
I call a friend for a rant. She knows me well. It’s cabin fever, she says. What we all get on these extra long weekends.
I sigh. I’ve done the cinema, I’ve done the visit to the pig farm, the friends’ houses, the cinema again and some garden fete thingy. I’ve spent a pile of money. We are all fed and watered and well-looked after, nothing to complain about really. That doesn’t stop me.
Go out for a walk, she says, you’ll feel better.
Another friend offers to listen to me rant, but I’m too shitty for company so I’m an arse instead. When I get back in from my walk, soaked and freezing I get right back on the phone.
It didn’t work, I witter at her I’m still angry.
Go to bed, she says.
What? At 8.30 in the evening?
She also has cabin fever, and is decluttering Lego from her sons bedroom, with her husband. Married life isn’t always sexy either I guess.
I snort at her suggestion and go upstairs to have a shower. My bed looks inviting, I’d changed the covers earlier so it has that lovely fresh hotelly feeling.
I’ll just lie down here for a minute, I think. Feels good.
Wow, I walked that walk in record time, I muse to myself. Half the usual time. Anger and frustration can be great motivators. I’ll just turn off the light for a minute, I think as I turn over and flick the switch.
I’m gone, for ages. I wake up slowly in the snuffly half light of a night-time house with the lights on low downstairs. My younger son is laughing his head off at Michael McIntyre on TV, I pull on my PJs and fake Uggs and shuffle down to him. I lie on the couch, he pulls my legs over his and pulls a blanket over both of us.
Mammy want toast? he asks.
I nod, I’d love some toast, any chance of a cup of tea. He’s on it, we are in bits laughing, and all is somehow not shitty anymore.