One Dundee memory that’s never left me, in all the rollercoaster years that have followed, is walking down Nethergate in the evening rain with neon puddles all over the road. I was listening to Wonderful Life by Black and I thought yes, it is.
But not for me.
Back then I had one goal. Don’t fall apart, and that was a big ask at the time. It was winter inside and out when I was at uni, and good weather was a long time coming. But even in the worst times, there was progression. Second year, third year, fourth year. Graduation. Masters. Graduation. Rarely was I left without a path, although it was a dark, lonely one.
Sometimes I miss that.
You know, you’d look at me and think “what on earth do you have to complain about?” And you’d probably be right. I have my family, a fiancé, a mortgage we can comfortably afford. I have two cats that let me scoop them up and squeeze them like big teddy bears. I have more friends than I’ve ever had, friends who turn up at our house with regularity, who bring me cake and drink my coffee and sleep on the couch when we’re done dicking about in the living room.
And I love it.
So why do I feel like a winter morning, when the sun is pale and struggling and never really rises?
When you say you’re tired, people say “me too” or “wow, how late were you up last night?” and you want to say no, I’m tired, marrow-deep and thread-thin.
I quit my job. Not the wrong decision, but it feels like taking your hands off the wheel in a car with no brakes and accepting the crash. Like telling yourself to put one foot in front of the other and realising after months of walking you’ve been travelling in circles.
I wish I could be one of those people, energetic all day, every day. Those people who find joy in everything, in other people and wearing scarves, and small talk with strangers on a train that smells like beer and too many lives.
I wish I could sink money into useless things that would keep me afloat. House a revolving door of junk, a museum of temporary relief.
Sometimes I wish I had faith, something intangible but omnipresent, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. A candle to warm my hands on when the weather turns cold and I can’t see where the doors are.
This isn’t a cry for help, I’m lost, not bereft. I’ve been lost often enough to know that the fog will lift eventually, but boy is it difficult when the clouds never clear from behind your eyes. Your arms are always tired and you just want to eat mashed potato.
The reason I can tell I’m OK is because I can still find moonlight.
I saw the first robin this morning. My sister is coming to visit soon. Morrisons sell gluten free curly fries.
It’s a wonderful, wonderful life.
Maybe not yet. But it will be.
Images from Pexels.