Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Time passes

It is seven years this month since my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I remember so clearly the moment when my life turned on its head, when child became parent. Very shortly after my father's dementia was diagnosed.

Since then it has been series of hospitals, pain, fear, caring and loss. My routine is ruled by their illnesses. My mother was given two short years to live, but battled through it all and is still here. But she is damaged. She has one breast, constant pain, and scars that cannot be seen.

My father simply exists, we have no way of knowing if he is happy, sad or aware. He just is.

I \am sad for them both, but I sad for me too.

I have given up a lot to care for them, and I am tired. I also - and I hate admitting this - resent much of it. No-one is to blame. Illness is.

I have lost relationships and friendships which couldn't stand the trails that have come with it all. I have turned my life and its geography upside down. Somehow all these years have passed, and I am still sitting here alone having missed much of the years I was so looking forward to. My parents have been denied their retirement.

I wish it were otherwise. I wish I had the generosity of spirit not to be angry about what their illnesses have put me through, not to hate that I stopped being able cope with the burden for a while.

It is what it is, and all I can do is carry on.

Child as parent.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Another letter to the man who is not my lover

Even though it'd dark, there's a daft bird singing outside when it should be sleeping, as should I.

I'm glad you came to chat this evening. My colleagues appreciated meeting someone who once lived in the amazing place we work. To us it's an office, to you it was home as it is to all those people who cannot live independently. You humoured those young people and befriended them. I love that about you.

We mumble words of need and apology. Apology for what has been said and wonder what to do with them.

I wish I had 24 hours with you: To talk, hang out, figure out whatever this is or isn't. Work the fantasy out of our systems...

You are careless with your affection. Paying me a little too much attention, whilst telling me it might just be easier if you'd never said anything. I can only agree. It's fine for you. You get to go home to a partner, a friend and I return to reruns of old soaps and a bottle of wine. You ask if it would be easier you ignore me, That is just as suspicious as paying me too much attention. It's also disrespectful of our friendship. I tell you 'you are my friend first and foremost', and that's how I will treat you.

I just wish we had a time and space away from it all just to talk, to sort through the mire that is unfulfilled longing.

I don't need anything from you, other than some kind of resolution. Even if that resolution is that your words are disloyal, misplaced, regretted. I just can't continue as is. Seeing you with her pains every part of me and I need to move on, and it's only with your help that that's going to happen.

What do we do?

I miss you too.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A Question for the man who is not my lover

Life would be simpler if you'd never declared your feelings. What is the point of me knowing them? You dangle words of longing and need at me, with occasional declarations about a future.

Your eyes meet mine as you sit with her. I'm glad that since September this has only happened once before, this sharing of space. Glances of apology and awkwardness. I have done nothing wrong, other than share your company, listen to your declarations, feel them, let you see me.

Why then should I feel so tense? It is the words that float in the air between us. Unheard by others. There, present, in our heads and your eyes, words that don't pass your lips but are communicated nonetheless.

I want you, and I don't. I can't control what you say, but I can ask you to listen.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ordinary is welcome

I'm pleased to be back at work today. There is some semblance of normal returning. After a festive seasons of highs, lows and confusion the everyday is very welcome.

Dad is back in his usual dementia unit within the hospital, a place that knows and cares for him well. His two days of not waking, nearly a week of not swallowing, and consequently not eating, are past. He's as up and about as he gets. A chest infection has set in, but at least it's being takien care of. I hope it passes quickly.

My mother can only demand so much of my time when there is an office to go to. She exhausts me and irritates me. She makes it hard to love her. She makes it hard to say 'no' to her.

And then there is the musician. I want him and don't in equal measure. The thoughts of him fill too much of my head. It's almost as if he wants to be found out. We are not having an affair, but we are doing something. I just don't know what. It is an emotional betrayal. Worse perhaps than some meaningless one night stand. At least, there is little contact between the times when we find each other amongst friends. We are not spiralling, yet.

Going back to the usual routine is reassuring and distracting from all of these things. There are fewer hours in the day to ponder those questions for which I have no answer.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Lost and found

I'm sitting in front of my laptop having missed two calls from the musician. I don't know what he wants. I'm not sure if he knows either.

I've had a sober evening driving, and he is catching up on festive cheer having worked through Christmas and Hogmanay. His tongue loosened by alcohol, he has been playing a risky game this evening. I don't know what to do.

It worries me because I don't want to be the other, complicit in a betrayal. It worries me because he reaches a part of me so rarely seen by anyone and I am glad. Tempted. Scared. Excited.

He does not try to seduce me.

He tells me again and again that he misses me. I ask what I am to do with these words of his. There is no answer.

Comfortable amongst friends he pays me a little too much attention. He brushes my hair from my face in front of other people. When I leave to smoke, he follows. He kisses me. I do not reach out to him. I want to.

I am scruffy in jeans and jumper when his beautiful partner appears, lean and glamorous in fake fur and a dress.

He follows me to the door. I am only leaving because I am scared of these feelings being exposed. I ask him where he's going, he simply says he wants to be with me. I brush off his 'I wish....' statements. He can't be with me.

'I miss you'

'Me too'

A peck goodnight.

A voice emerges from the dark street. Someone calls him by his name. Has his acquaintance heard the declarations of want, need? These are not words my words, at least. Mine are only those of 'I know', 'what am I supposed to say?'

My phone has been ringing in my bag as I drive home. I send an innocuous text. A holding statement: neutral. Has the acquaintance asked a question? Has someone else seen our legs too close under the table, his hands reaching for me? Where is she as he is phoning me?

It is dangerous. It is emotional. It is not a flirtation. It is soulful and full of sadness. Snippets of each others lives and dreams learned over a couple of years and only now connecting in this dance of the past few months. A little joy in the moments when we find each other.

We don't call or text or email or make plans, knowing an affair is not what's wanted. There is no hiding behind excuses or lies. We circle round our folk, mostly in a friend's bar which has become a home for this lovely group of waifs and strays.

My phone rings. He has slipped away to tell me he misses me. To tell me it may take a long time, but the risks are his and he will bear the weight of the hurt that may come, that he wants to be with me, loves me. He chides me for protecting him, for pushing him away from something that could easily become an explosive situation. He takes responsibility for whatever this is.

He tells me he loves everything about me, stealing these moments of simple glances. He tells me I am beautiful. There is much silence. I can hear him breathe and sigh. I miss him too.

He is under my skin, in my head, thoughts of him are part of my day and I am part of his.

I want someone to whom I can give myself wholly. I cannot do this with him whilst he is not mine. I cannot, will not.

The choice is his. He will only be welcome in my heart if he is free to be there.

I want him and I must find a way not to.

I am angry at the situation, myself, him. It would be so very much easier if nothing had ever been said. I try to be angry with him for making it this way.

I want to be angry with him, but with each time his eyes reach beyond my masks and fear, my resolve weakens.

We say goodnight at last. I do not know when these words will come again, but I know they will.

He's found me, found the me that exists in these words and less often in reality. My layers are stripped away and he is there with me.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

I want him

I am at risk of falling in love with the man I cannot have.

The musician still tells me how he's feeling about me, and I can only resist for so long. I want him. I want his softness and his kisses and his words and his eyes and his passion.

We hold hands and look. Unable not to.

He is taking risks. He has told my sister what's going on his is head.

He is not mine. Nor is he likely to be.

I beg him to stop saying all the things he does. It isn't fair.

I don't want him to stop though.

He is someone else's and it makes me weep.