Tonight I sit on my couch, heater blasting, uni course notes open and discussion board responses to write, and all I feel is the heaviness of the kinder cold gifted to me by my son before departing for his father’s house. Since Tuesday of this week kindergartens and daycare centres in Victoria have closed to all but vulnerable children and those of essential workers. Last year, this was the case for us for 6 long months. Our new normal back then had been a roster of meetings and television and ‘quiet time’ and designated walks.
Something dropped out of my soul when I heard the news that there was to be no more kinder, again. I didn’t feel I was going back to that place of last year, where two parents resided under the same roof, albeit quite separately, and managed the daily running of things, finding some comfort and joy in being together for this rare break in the mad cycle of life. This time I am on my own, still working and now also studying. Perhaps it was too soon to say yes to some of this newness, I admit. Kinder kindly delivered us a final blow upon shutting its doors: a mighty head-cold passed from child to child to send us into deep lockdown with a resolve weakened by fuzziness and endless streams of tissues. The last week with my own grumpy, sick child and the same amount of meetings to attend was an utter shock to the system. There were no lunchtime walks and there was a period of quarantining in which we were both too frustrated to engage in our regular apartment dance parties, languishing about with timed snacks and train tracks, the external pace of life continuing to hound me through all the devices. It felt relentless and nauseating and inescapable.
I’ve had two meltdowns this week. Friends who’ve only ever heard a relatively together version of me have witnessed the unleashing of tears, then sobs and whines. Thank god for these people in my life. I have taken two afternoons off work because staring at the computer was even more crazy-making. Wallowing has been neither good nor bad, just something I’ve needed to do.
I’ll quit the morbid diary entry here to discuss the wins, because that is what one must and can do when feeling sooky, if they are so privileged as I am, to be able to do so.
Win #1: I’ve rediscovered the daggy-arse Spanish music of my childhood … ‘Latin’ George Dalaras and Gypsy Kings – the ‘Love Songs Compilation’. Thanks Dad. So much heartbreak in these lyrics. The misunderstanding of mucho lyrics that I now realise in their entirety as an adult. So much misplaced passion and so many songs that I thought were about being in love were actually about quitting the whole love ordeal.
Win #2: I’m really good at creating train tracks. Each one is slightly different. Sometimes they twist, sometimes they turn. It’s meditative and soothing. I never actually want to get the train on the track and whiz it around. I just wanna keep building those tracks.
Win #3: Bread from the cafe is bloody beautiful. I don’t need or want to bake bread right now. A million ways with chickpeas is where I’m at.
Win #4: Valeria, season two. Saucy Madrid times and an unpublished writer with no day job who seems to be able to pay the rent. I’ll take the fantasy and, I did, over three magical nights.
Win #5: There’s a lovely ‘blinds man’ out there who has been waiting for some time now to install the blinds I’ve paid for. One day, I shall rise when I want to, not because the actual sun has woken Little G, who is rightly confused by his Grow Clock’s lack of sun and in turn wakes me. The blinds are my symbol of hope.
Win #6: Because of win #5 my yoga has become slightly public. And I don’t care anymore. I kundalini shake for all the world to see, every morning.
Win #7: I’ve managed to get most of my friends over to WhatsApp. Zooms can bugger off. Long-winded messages of wondrous minutia and all the muffled-mask sounds while walking outside are where it’s at. I don’t know how we’ll ever back-and-forth converse again.
Win #8: I have an awesome bubble buddy who happens to be an astrologer. Not many can say that. And she eats my food happily, dances to Madonna with us and lets Little G dress her up like a ‘bad guy’.
Win #9: My balcony. From here I watch the moon, breathe in the cool air and take in the giant sky that reminds me I am but a blip.
Win #10: Apart from the head-cold, I am OK. I am still OK enough to get angry and cry and alien dance to Genesis and MJ.
Without descending into cheese, I will say it’s these wins that are sustaining. And also ye olde perspective. I know full well that I am a fortunate lass. Thank you for indulging me and please keep up the sourdough starter where I have failed!