Those waking moments, half in and out of sleep, seem like they have a tone-setting influence to my day. I reach for my phone (who doesn’t?) and review overnight messages. Instagram plays too-important a role, but accounts like this one help. I saw a deceptively clever art installation at Glastonbury by Notes to Strangers. Something about it; the rawness, the humour and the honesty made me smile, to nod in appreciation. I tell anyone I meet about it. I ordered a print (you can pick from any that he publishes on his feed). Mine says ‘there’s a whole lot of muddling through’, which pretty much sums it up right now.
I started watching ‘Euphoria‘, which to a parent of teens is a bit like riding a terrifying amusement park ride; slick, heart-bumping, grinding and will unsettle you to your core, until you get off, and then it’s all great. When the adrenaline seeps away, you feel kinda dirty, but in a good way. Like when you eat Kentucky Fried Chicken.
So many things seems to refer to the Maldives at the moment; a place I went when I was a different person, just eight months ago. It crops up in all places, what I read and what I see. Or maybe I just notice because it was a screen saver to my dreams, in another life.
We collect a new puppy this weekend, a fact that I struggle to believe, but nonetheless the breeder diligently sends me photos of the gorgeous growing fur ball that will become ours. Our existing dog regards me with curiosity. My daughter messages me constantly in a state of abject excitement.
A crop of new books are delivered; a reading list for an endeavour I start in October. Nothing quite like that feeling of possibility; of pristine unread books.
The shells from Thailand still grace my dressing table, one in particular, a small stingray-shaped creamy arc, which I found on a deserted, untouched white island, somewhere in the waters beyond Koh Pha-Ngan. The shell reminds me of the place, bathing in the lukewarm waters off the shore, sifting the sand through our fingers, incredulous at the beauty. Still incredulous that such a place exists, right now. The world is large.
The kindness of strangers and friends floors me at this time of need, and I take deep, cleansing breaths of it, when I can. I roll the words grace and humility around in my mind, like you would a hold a sweet on your tongue. Feeling the weight of them and then they dissolve.
Building flat pack furniture, I slice my finger. My son says ‘are you going to faint, mummy?’ reminiscent of the time I sliced my hand delving in the dish washer and span out. I shake my head, and we go night time skateboarding down by the water, a wad of kitchen roll wrapped around my index finger. Children store up what they’ve experienced before, and it forms their expectations. Maybe it’s a good thing that this time, I remain conscious.