It’s been three weeks since I’ve sat down and written to you which, just between you and me, has turned me insane.
You want to know the fastest way to turn a person bat-shit crazy? Firstly, get your hands on a pregnant woman. One who is weak, miserable and throwing up. The kind of pregnant woman who can be used as a visual contraceptive to other women contemplating a life with children. Yep, start with her. Then, tell her she is to move house. Tell her she has to pick up every scrap of paper, every loose pen, every left sock, every unholy and detestable household item humans apparently need and put it in a box. Tell her the picking up, wrapping and boxing will go on for days since she has three lives worth of crap to sort through and four thousand boxes to fill. Inform her that once boxed, she needs to transport these boxes to another location, taking several trips, repeating the process over and over again. Before this though, you need to remind her to spend weeks beforehand securing just the right household location; frequenting numerous inspections on her own with a bored and disobedient toddler because her busy husband has been at work for 39 hours a day. Once the four thousand boxes have been moved to the new location, tell her she then needs to unpack them and every scrap of paper, every loose pen, every left sock, and every unholy and detestable household item humans apparently need has to be assigned a NEW place in an APPROPRIATE area with ORDER and UNFATHOMABLE REPETITION. When she has completed this task, inform her that she then needs to return to her old house, pick up a cloth and scrub down every bit of surface area she can see. Tell her the scrubbing will go on for days. Tell her she mustn’t stop until it’s complete because she is on a strict time constraint to vacate the premises. Remind her she also needs to change postal addresses with every institution known to man, organize new gas and electricity connections, hire pest people, and fill out three forests’ worth of paperwork.
Try telling her all that.
Bat-Shit Crazy Guarantee.
On Monday, I had to get some blood taken for some pre-natal scans I had on today. Me and blood tests are never friends at the best of times. I have very small veins and the kind ladies have to use children’s needles and jab around for ages just to get a trickle or two. I knew this particular visit would be challenging, after the way I was feeling, the last few weeks I’d had and the sickness that gripped me, so intense it was like concentrated blackness. I felt completely hollowed out and like I was wading through jelly just to move around.
I knew before we even started that it probably wasn’t going to end well. I sat in that chair and I took deep breaths and I pushed on this vein and that vein when the nice lady asked me to. I mustered the strength to smile and I closed my eyes and tried to think of happy things, like how good blueberries are at the moment. But I could tell it was coming, that dreadful feeling. My stomach dropped. The sweat began. White dots blocked me from seeing anything. The lady dropped the needle, held both my arms and kept saying “Stay with us, Rachel. Rachel, stay with us.” I fought to stay there with her, and I did, for what felt like hours, but the feeling was so awful and I so weak that the next thing I knew I woke up drenched in sweat on the cold, lino floor of the nurses station. I lay there for ten minutes, too weak to get up, saying sorry over and over to the poor nurse trying to take care of me.
Not that I needed the acknowledgement since I already knew, but it was enough of a scare to scale things down to bare essentials. There are still loose life ends that need to be tied up, still stacks of boxes left to unpack, still calls and emails and texts that have not been returned. Life will be messy for a while still. However, I’m not convinced a messy life does not make for a beautiful life.
Because, you guys, we now live on a TOURIST DRIVE. Tourists flock to where we live for Sunday afternoon outings and special family trips because it’s so freaking beautiful.
Friends, may I introduce you to our new backyard.
Grits of sand are sprinkled through our sheets. Sand buckets have been bought. A cafe rests on the corner two doors up from us and live jazz plays there every Sunday afternoon, wafting through our windows like the smell of warm cherry pie. People slow and smile as they pass. Families walk together at sunset, mamas tilting their heads back and laughing, fathers holding the hands of their babies as they plod along with their tiny little legs. Children line our street, playing in tyre swings that dangle from huge fig trees out front. Playgrounds are two minutes walk away, and the shrieks of happy children within them makes me close my eyes and think, We’re home.
Happy Thursday, friends. It’s nice to be back.