I was struggling to come up with something for this week’s BlogFriday word, ‘tears’. I could research and write something factual, tell a sad or a funny story – I could talk about my tears, or someone else’s. We all have them, even if we have to squeeze them out of a bottle.
I wish I could have written Katyboo’s The self fulfilling Caucus Race – it reduced me to tears of laughter. I’m glad she went ahead and wrote it down anyway; I couldn’t have, mostly because I haven’t gone through her particular experiences. On reflection, I’m quite glad of that. I found her when following some tags the other day, and had to wrestle with an unworthy desire to keep her all to myself.
When you’re not gifted with so much ebullient humour, ‘tears’ is a hard word to write about. I don’t want my blog to be angry or miserable, though at the same time I want it to represent the life I’m really living. I was wrestling with these feelings when I got up this morning, and about the first thing I saw on my computer screen (apart from the 3D wallpaper from Caedes and an unsorted rank of desktop icons) was my horoscope for today.
“However you feel is how you feel, so don’t try to hide it. If other people are uncomfortable with your anger, your happiness, or whatever emotion you’re exhibiting, that is just too bad for them. You’re not a robot, so why should you act like one? Beware of people who think that hiding how you really feel is some sort of superior, more powerful way to be. Not acknowledging your feelings can become a very unhealthy habit – one that can keep you from having honest connections with others.”
Alright then… wasn’t the word ‘tears’? I have a bottle of them beside my bed.
The optician’s receptionist (I nearly called her the optionist) gave me them for nothing when I was complaining about gritty eyes. They don’t feel any less tired, but I smiled this morning at how shiny they were… it just struck me as funny, all of a sudden. I’m sitting-up mud with dark eyes glimmering out at everything. Just look at all of you, reading my blog. Take away the spectacles, the veils, the hats, the hoods, the hair and the sleepy, rubbing fists… behind them are eyes so shiny they’re like mirrors.
These drippy bad boys are full of natural painkillers. When your middle gets icy cold, that’s almost physical pain, not just emotional. The heat seems to squeeze out through your eyes.
The two of us living here in Mum’s house were supposed to be having an adventure. Thence we had fled, abandoning our own home. While Mum got on with things downstairs, we were playing Anne Frank in the attic, hiding out upstairs and sneaking down for food. Sharky was the last of four cats, and when he died, it was as though I was losing everything all over again: not just his love and companionship, but the entire feline crowd, our house, and the life we lived together.
Ah! Those halycon days! Those days when Thor was beating up everybody except the giant Maine Coon in the next street, when Lucky smiled at me from the back door, and Fusspot teased the seagulls and made them stress out all over my washing. Those days when I had an office to dislike with cordial passion, cat shows to get incomprehensibly excited over, and Star Trek Voyager showing every week on BBC2 at 6 PM. Just like Lister in the Red Dwarf, I’d settle down with my curries and shandy and didn’t have to worry about someone else wanting the Antique Roadshow instead. The cats weren’t into clocks and Welsh dressers.
I thought he’d be with me for years yet, with his kind wisdom, energy and humour. The two of us had moved away but could return if we wanted, to the scolding seagulls and the takeaway belching greasy smoke at the bottom of the garden. Together we were complicit in the lie that we could go back while choosing not to. My penpal described it perfectly when she said “Sharky was your bit of continuity” – that’s what made it so particularly hard to bear.
I’m no robot – it’s true.