More stick less carrot

As 2021 ended, the two years of paltering half-life alone at home decided to come to an end with a dusty, miserable little crescendo, killing my dog off with a big full stop. She of great fawning beauty fame, of calm, of love, of anchoring, and then, latterly, of anguish, of despairing longing to go, of her last breath as she was snuffed out on her bed, of her soul going then, too, straight out the open window. Without her, life became immediately rudderless. My partner and I went into our own very discrete places of luxuriating sadness – we made big moves against each other in the retreat, or at least I did Him.

2022 did not see improvement at first. And then, a novelty! A new friend, a new vector through which to inject some life into my bones. And we fell into something too quickly for my liking. A shared stupor, an adventure, a something after years of flat-based flatness. My partner grew weary with my ridiculous and immediate acquiescence. I too grew weary of myself. I stopped eating; I drank most days; I started smoking again, taking the big one-draggers I used to see my granny take before the oxygen cannisters arrived and she huffed on those instead. I went for whiskeys by myself and sat at the bar by myself and stared ahead, all very Irish of me, all very Drama, all very megalomaniacal.

It is stultifying to feel anything good and nice, so I make a secret of it so it can be mine and no one else’s, and darken it in the act. I fold and fold into the lapping of my own cwtch, always more stick, less carrot.

One day I bring him to what I call – I think, quite hilariously, and very OTT-ly – my ‘depression bench’ in the park, where I go to cry without being seen, a place even my partner doesn’t know exists, and he kisses me as his dog runs around sniffing mud pats. Soft, shaky, avian little kisses, all the sadder for not being borne only of lust, three of them I think, or maybe it was four, and he stops and we do not look at each other, or at least I do not look at him. Wet and embarrassed and hungover, I am ashamed of the pettiness of my life.

Crunch crunch crunch, the death of possibility. I understand I’m in the thick of it now: I am not an unbiased observer.

When the freshness ends, as it now has, he will move on with his easier life and easier desires whilst I become a public embarrassment and great drunken nuisance of Glasgow’s Southside. I will be true to form as the Irish One, and I will invite people to think of me as only that. I will make an absolute fool of myself on and on, unsatisfiable to the end, and I will revel in the tiny angers I aim inwards. I already know I will make stories of my wallowing, translate them to quips, hawk everything I can.

And now all my clothes smell of cigarettes! So I will wash them and dry them and fold them and put them away in their place. I will be the domesticity You need, and I will give myself over to the holy things of the great, lasting love I am gifted every day. I will open myself up again to You by closing the window from where she left us. Amen.