Nobody lives forever -Tuesday, around 5pm
The crassest of clichés,
Time is the greatest healer;
But it’s a murderer today
I spent most of the day yesterday feeling numb. I walked home after I spoke to Laurence, but I couldn't face my empty apartment, somehow, and so I saddled Lady and we went for a ride in the rain. It was silly, really; I was soaked through when we got back, and I had to give Lady a hot mash to make sure she didn't get cold. Then I went upstairs and sat in the bath, and I cried for a while, and after that I felt clean and empty inside, like I had been washed inside as well as on the outside.
Laurence's clock kept ticking as I sat. Eventually I had to put it in the cupboard. It's too lovely to stay there forever, but yesterday... I didn't want to hear it.
Today, at least, I had work to do. It was a busy enough day, perhaps because it's drier than it was yesterday. People were gossiping about things, but I barely heard what they were saying. I kept wondering - have I done the right thing? If it is the right thing, should it hurt like this? But it's the only way forward I can see.
I've just closed up the store. It's strange; I don't feel like seeking anyone out to talk to, but somehow I don't want to go home and sit alone. Dinner at the cafe seems like a good compromise. I can exchange pleasantries with Tulzcha, say hello to anyone I know, and the clatter of other people's plates and the buzz of their conversation will keep my mind busy.
I come in to the cafe. It's still too early for most people to want dinner, and too late for lunch, so there are just two or three other people. I wave to Mr Wilkes, who always has his 4.30 coffee here. He reads a paperback novel for 45 minutes, chats to Tulzcha for five, and then he goes home. He's done this ever since his wife died. Routine is useful. Ritual is a better word, maybe. That's why I go to Nanshe's church, I suppose. I respect the Lady, but really what I like is the repetition and the community. Ritual places us in the world...
Tulzcha has already come with a coffee, and I stir a sugar into it and then some cream. I'll think about food in a little while.
I think about Laurence as I watch the cream swirl into the coffee. My spoon clinks against the side of the cup. I wonder what he's doing now, and if he's alright. I hope Cain is looking out for him. I hope he hasn't done something dramatic and foolish. It would be in character. But if anything truly bad had happened, I would have heard already, surely? I will just have to hope so. I can't go and see him yet. It wouldn't be fair to him, or to me.
Too much has happened, I think. These last few months. There hasn't been a chance to draw breath and be, well, normal
. I nearly died. Laurence was beaten unconscious. Glass was assaulted. That poor baby. Annegwish. Kora. God knows it's a miracle we've all not lost our minds. For some people I think these hard times have rushed their hearts onward. Glass and Iago, for instance. Would they have fallen in love another, quieter time? They might well have. But perhaps they'd have not moved so fast together. When the world falls to pieces, we hold fast to what seems true, and perhaps that encourages short courtship and swift weddings. Then I think of Laurence's proposal, and I have to swallow down a lump in my throat. It would be easier, I think, if everything that's happened could make me just throw aside what's in my past and seize the future. But it is not how I'm made, I don't think. I think I have changed a lot, these last few months. I am glad of it, for the most part. I think my heart is a more complete thing than it used to be. But it does mean I'm no longer sure where I'm going. I got so used to being on my own, to having many acquaintances but few friends, to not loving. And now I care about so many things, and I don't know where all of them are taking me...
I look out of the window. Will I look back on yesterday as a turning point, one day? Or only a mistake? Or something else altogether?
[open to friendly faces!]