After my moment of happiness amidst the dung, of course I had The Crash. This happens so often that I don’t know why I do not see it coming. I get caught in a category error. I think that one shining moment of joy means that I am now set on the path to joy, instead of understanding it as a thing complete in itself.
I was in such a filthy mood for the last two days that I could not even write this blog, because I did not want to burden you with scratchiness and crossness and fury. Despite myself, I want to give you the good bits. So much rain falls into every life that I do not want to add to the deluge. Here, I want to say, here is your little ray of sunshine.
In the end, as the small slights and wounds and lacerations piled up, I found myself on the back on my red mare, in the middle of a dull Scottish field, the sky over my head the colour of dashed dreams, weeping like a child.
After that, it was better. Little things had piled up, and I was so invested in this idea that I could be happy now I had had my revelatory moment, that I ignored them. Every morning, when I go into the house my mother and stepfather shared, where we spent so many happy times together, and find it empty, it is a little bruise on my heart. Even though my mother was confined to her bed for the last months of her life, she still made that house beautiful. Her life spread through it. She had two kind ladies who came in to do the work she could no longer do herself, and I had not realised how much she must have spoken to them and encouraged them to arrange everything in just the way she liked. She was like a set designer, making the stage come to life.
Now that house feels forlorn, the life going out of it day by day, as my stepfather is away on a family trip. I was trying to be matter of fact about that, and refused to acknowledge how much it wore on my spirit. Don’t make a fuss, said my old school voices; be stoical, carry on. Then the brown mare had a wound that would not heal and no matter what I did it still looked hideous and sore and I suddenly thought that despite her having come through her operation, she would die of blood poisoning. People were cross with me, for three different things that were All My Fault. There are few more demoralising things than people getting cross with you when you know you are in the wrong. (The horrid part of me always wants to be in the right, so the doing of the wrong things and the severe tone of voice people use when they point this out are excruciatingly humiliating to me.)
All this built up until I felt defeated. So I sat on the horse and cried.
And today the sun came out and I wrote 2624 words of my secret project and I remembered about the most important dance of modern life, which is the One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back Shuffle. I do this dance all the time. I should know the steps by now. Ah, said my kind, adult, sane mind, which had not been able to get a word in edgeways for forty-eight hours, it’s not the end of everything; it’s just that dear old dance.
A line from an old song came into my head. ‘Dance, dance, dance, little lady, leave tomorrow behind.’ I am not a little lady, but I damn well can dance.