Outside it rains. It's so heavy I can hear it above the waltz drifting from the radio next door. My desk is warmed by a small circle of light. The edges of the room are dark.
My head is muzzy, my limbs ache.
It's a Strauss waltz. I think of the concert broadcast from Vienna each year on New Year's Day. My mother Esme always listens. I've just spoken to her on the telephone. She is a long way away. Anna-M and the Bim are snug together at his. They were going to have one of their 'Movie Nights' - popcorn, lots of cuddles, a Disney classic.
I slept the afternoon, after they left. After breakfast, too, I had to crawl back to bed apologetically, slipping into a fitful half-sleep, trying to keep an ear open for Anna-M. Be sensible, won't you. I said weakly, ridiculously, like mothers do. Don't do anything dangerous. She pottered about, got herself dressed, stirred me only to fasten the button on her jeans, like six-year-olds do.
There are some days when you have to give in. You feel sad and alone and your limbs ache, and the skies roar, and the times when life was lived in colour feel light-years away, even though only a couple of days ago you felt that things were looking up.
When I was younger, in my Camberwell days, such evenings floored me. I hadn't lived long enough to know that everything changes. That it is possible to make everything change. That living in colour is a matter of waiting for a different lens.
I'll sleep, while I'm waiting. I don't want to feel any more tonight.
A phrase surfaces: This too shall pass.
Image: Horia Varlan