My Mum was sorting through some of my Gran's things last week and found a letter a friend had written to her that she had kept for some 40 years, until she died. Her friend had written out a poem she had read, to send as comfort during a difficult time (this is the poem). I read and re-read it, trying to grasp its meaning; trying to find a secret clue in its interwoven lines.
Fall'n in the mire,
Shall some day surely know
Why life held blow
On blow, and sacrificial fire and knife;
Seeing one stand the firmer for our rout,
Or some brave, laughing ship of youth sail out
The braver for our pain.
I form my mouth around the words and hold onto them too; like the birdsong, like the fire. I have this kind of... scrapbook in my head, of foraged things that will help me through. I file this under 'words that help', for further dissection at a later date. I have to start this metaphorical scrapbook because I have nothing to put in a real scrapbook - not anymore. Scraps of a continued existence are not of note. Receipts from petrol stations, first class stamps, scribbled notes from work to-do lists. The minutiae of 'getting by'.
I'm sat in bed at my parents' house as I try a second time to write this; my laptop perched on my knees, a mug of camomile tea sat precariously on the shelf of the wooden headboard. This is my life now; a handful of my favourite books stacked on a shelf, two watches, three perfumes, six pairs of shoes. It's amazing the amount you don't need when you're forced to live in a smaller space, to use only things hastily crammed into a bright blue Ikea sack. I feel devoid of belongings, numb and exhausted. Rain forms fluid avenues and streams in a downward arc against the window. The wind turns the leaves of the trees in the front garden into awkward, flapping, flailing beings. I don't feel ready to talk about the exactitudes of what has brought me here, to this bedroom, to this point in my life where I feel as if I have started moving backwards. I can only talk in the abstract, it is somehow too odd and unexpected to say out loud (but one day I will, when I am ready).
Everything is going to be okay.