I come through the door, therapy-wiped-out, and head for the bathroom. Afterwards, I manage to pull my tights up only half way, and proceed to climb the stairs with them still around my knees. I fall into bed and pull the covers right over me, where it is dark and warm. I remember shivering with sobs, not cold, earlier. But now I am cold.
I just want to be hugged tightly, so tightly. I wish I had carried on crying when I was with you, because now I want to cry, but I can’t. When I was with you I felt I should be talking, not crying the time away. And yet I wasn’t finished with the crying, and now it feels too late, and what if it stays unfinished? When I was with you, I felt I had to stop. It was a hard, un-pretty sort of crying, and I didn’t want you to see. My jacket was too small to cover me and there was nowhere to hide and so I stopped the thoughts that were causing the pain that was causing the tears.
Under the covers, the sound is like the soft hissing of a shell held up to your ear. Every part of me feels alone – from the end of my toes to the tear suspended on the edge of my eyelashes. It is as if my body is covered by ‘loss buttons’ and every one has been pressed. And now, to stop the sense that I am dissolving, I try to stay very still. I feel the indentation that I make against the mattress, and it feels almost impossible to move. I may not be leaking tears, but it feels as though something is leaving me, seeping out slowly into the dark. If I curl up tight, and stay very still, perhaps I will stay contained. Perhaps that sense of alone-ness will not spread – but where is there for it to go? We are full of emptiness already, the house and I.
Now that I’m still, that convulsing feeling in my stomach has stopped. It’s where I feel emotional pain. I bend and fold, but with a force that comes from within and twists and pulls at my insides. I don’t mind – it lets me know that my pain is real and undeniable – even by me. Especially by me. Sometimes I wonder how much you notice other things apart from words – the contorted shapes of our faces when we cry; of our bodies when we hurt.
Once, I make it out from under the covers and sit on the edge of the bed, and take those half-way-up tights, down, and off. But then I go right back under the duvet, even further, holding on – to myself – even tighter. It reminds me of playing under the covers when I was twelve or thirteen and everyone thought I was asleep. I created and inhabited stories: I was a mermaid under the sea; I was hiding in a cave; I was a baby being born.
What did I imagine that was like? I wish I could remember. I don’t suppose I thought it hurt, like this hurts. But being born must be a type of loss as well. You probably think it will always feel like this – surrounded, warm, held in her presence – until the cold light of day intrudes; and the separation of physical distance.
When I think about seeing you, you have no idea how much I often long to just sit on the floor next to your chair. To close the three foot gap by two foot. To close my eyes and to be able to feel your presence in the silence. My eyes are closed but my own presence in this silence is too singular and although I want to stay still forever there is an impetus inside that pushes me to move. MOVE.
And so I move. I pull the covers back, and put my tights back on. My sixty minutes in bed are up; and now, so am I. I hug my ‘therapy jacket’* – and I get to work.
[My ‘therapy jacket’ is one that I bought during the Easter therapy break, on the day of the first ‘missed session’. It’s soft and warm and it became an immediate transitional object to help me get through the break. It has continued that function since then, and it lives on my bed when I am not wearing it. During a particular period when therapy was very tough, it stayed under the covers with me, where I could embrace it. When I came back from holiday during the summer, one of the first things I did was hold it tightly. The thought of ever losing it makes me feel panic.]