…because this is how these things go. One day I’m swimming for three quarters of an hour, pounding laps up and down the pool, walking home in the light mist of rain under the orange glow of the street lamps, climbing the stairs to my flat, winding down with a book for the evening, getting into bed feeling almost well.
And then the next day I wake up and my ribs are aching and I taste blood in the back of my throat, and it feels like there is acid coursing through my veins. On the way up the stairs from my bedroom I stumble into the wall and have to rest there for a moment, because seven steps is just too many to be able to climb in one go. I try to work, of course, because I am me and that is what I do, but ultimately I have to admit defeat and pull a blanket around my shivering skin and curl up on the sofa.
Of course, this is a great opportunity to spend all day watching chick flicks, which I do with gay abandon, starting with Bridesmaids (meh), then moving on to Bad Moms (good), Tammy (sweet, funny) and finally The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (pretty good, but a bit too reliant on cheap emotive tropes).
A couple of days later I feel much better again, and I can go back to the pool, although I try to remind myself to take it easy, not to push myself too hard. When I walk in the person behind the desk greets me enthusiastically.
“Hey! How are you?”
not wanting to say “able to leave the house today, which makes a change”
“Good thanks! I haven’t seen you in ages, where have you been?”
not wanting to say “hospital, mainly, and bed”
“Oh, you know… things.”
“You’ve lost weight too! It looks great! What’s your secret?”
not wanting to say “organ failure”
“Oh, you know… stuff.”
And as I grab a towel from the pile and head into the changing rooms away from this lovely but tiring woman who always seems to speak in exclamation marks, I smile and shake my head at myself, realising this is probably what people mean when they call me ‘evasive’.
So, last week didn’t exactly pass in a flurry of activity, but it was nice all the same. One day I invited my friend over and cooked dinner for us – real food! – and it went OK, although the following day I felt like my insides were burning again.
I did read some books though, which was nice. And I did some work too, including finally finishing the book. It’s now with the people who are going to do things like print it out and stick a cover on it, or whatever it is that turns books into actual physical objects and not just WordPress-style documents on a computer screen. It comes out in August, I think.
Then I did a lot of thinking about what I’m going to be doing with my life for the rest of this year, considering that I’m mainly stuck inside a flat that’s in the process of being renovated, so none of the rooms are very room-like, and it feels a bit like lying in the middle of a building site, surrounded by dust and strewn bits of stripped-off wallpaper. I think I have decided. More on that later, because I need to talk to a couple of people about it first.
My mother called halfway through the week, and we had one of our usual conversations which make total sense.
The Reading List
- Rather Be The Devil by Ian Rankin – nothing new from Rankin here, really, but then you don’t read Rankin for new, you read him for old comfy familiarity.
- Hermits: The Insights of Solitude by Peter France – an interesting look into the works of various hermits around the world, with some very relatable bits.
- Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple – while I was reading it, I quite enjoyed this novel, but I just had to google it because I couldn’t remember anything about the storyline, which speaks to its stickiness.
- Hellfire by Karin Fossum – brilliant as always, Fossum really delivers the chill factor on this one. It’s got to have one of the best last lines I’ve ever encountered.
- A Field Full of Butterflies: Memories of a Romany Childhood by Rosemary Penfold – because sometimes it’s fun to read books by people who also grew up in caravans. Penfold’s memoir is matter-of-fact and yet prettily written.
- Hyddenworld by William Horwood – the author of the Duncton Wood series returns with a fantasy novel that will catch you in its spell and take you on a twisting journey through a world that runs parallel to the human one.
- The Essential Gay Mystics by Andrew Harvey – I didn’t mean to read this book, but when I stumbled across it at the library the title made me want to take it home. It’s quite good, but I think I’d expected more analysis of the works: it was very much just a book that regurgitated the love-related works of various writers.
- The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman – a very good novel that I’d definitely recommend. Moving, slightly weird, with an ending I found slightly disappointing but which will probably therefore be enjoyable to most people.
So, how’s your week been?