My trainers gripped the Tarmac path and my breath warmed my face in clouds of steam in the night air. I stopped at the top of the hill near the waste grass and woodland. There was a star cutting through the light of the street lamp but was dulled and haloed by a mist like the haze of a summer night but without the warmth. Alone I felt like myself. Freedom and enjoying time running I thought how a moment like this would be one I would look back at in my old age as something significant that I would remember despite its banality.
Each day of the week passed like breathing. Wake, commute, work, exhaustion, bed. It was a machine of daily routine that I fed fuel to each day and before I knew it the week was almost over. Friday had come around quick enough helped by frequent lunch time distraction stops at the cafe. I arrived home to a wad of letters still hanging precariously from the letter box on the inside of the door. I pulled them out and took them to the kitchen along with the local free news paper that every week seems to have the same type of photos of some local school sports achievement and the inside a page full of letters from people angry about a new housing development in their small village/town (circle as required) and those angry at the angry letters from the week before. It fills the recycle bin nicely.
A brown letter that shouted Inland Revenue from it’s colour alone. I tossed it on the dining table. A bank statement with nothing more than one entry for paid-in and a long list of paid-outs, many of which from the lunch time distraction cafe. The last letter in a formal white envelope with a window and private and confidential in blue in the corner. I placed it on the table gently, dropped my bag on the chair, and filled a glass of water in the kitchen. I recognised the font in the address and even the thickness of the letter. It was clearly from the hospital. May be this was it. The decision of what they wanted to do with me next that would put an end to at least some of the waiting. What else could it be; I already had my appointment.
I drank a little water. Undid the laces on my trainers and put them on the rack. I even went upstairs and changed my clothes and found anything else I could do to distract me from opening the letter. It wasn’t nerves and it wasn’t even avoidance. I suppose it was just a case of save the best until last. I wanted to get all the dull stuff out of the way so they wouldn’t play on my mind and I could give my full attention to the letter and allow whatever it was they wanted to say to settle in, to mature and spread throughout my body so I’d fully understand what was going to happen next, if anything at all.
If it was that they couldn’t do anything yet then I’d have to at least think about what my next step would be. Would it be having to start making some forward movements in my life towards living full time as a woman or would it be down to my mental state. It really could be anything. Then there would be what would happen if they do in fact want to refer me on that would mean long trips every so often. Decisions about medication and how I make some kind of progress. Either one seems to be moving forward in some way but the only person who can generally make those forward motions is me.
I made the bed quickly in one short torte of the bed sheet, a wave on air through the duvet and a puffing up of the pillows that seem to demonstrate as much lac-lustre as I show on a Friday; I must replace them. I finally returned to the dining room. The year was clearly making it’s own progress with the sharp winter light still lazily entering the dining room delivering cold harsh nothingness. I pushed my finger through the glue of the envelop sliding unstuck with ease as if it had been stuck just five minutes ago. Drained of the ability to have emotion from work alone, tired of the emptiness in the house, how was I supposed to digest whatever awaited; let alone my dinner.
The letter slid out and the three parts unfolded it’s concertina packing. My ears rung not in silence but from stress. It was from the hospital. It’s usual branding clearly printed along the top and progressing to the formality of information. I’d have though the ‘Dear’ with no name would have caught my attention first but the lack of name was probably more telling than anything else even if just an administrative failure of the utilitarian nature of office logistics. The disappointment came in one short sharp hit like a double vodka. ‘cancelled appointment details’. I was used to these by now but on top of the lack of decision since last summer, and nothing since Doctor Neil said he would chase it up, I felt another bruise spread on another tender part of my soul.
I had my meal, sat in front of the TV and even a little piano practice but was little moved by the whole thing. Despite all my pre-empting intuition of the contents of the letter I kind of knew that it would be something other than a decision. There was probably a little fear in me that it could have been something and that something would have been bad news or something major to deal with. May be a cold decision releasing me from their care like a legal sounding ‘there is no case to answer – Goodbye.’
When I finally dragged myself to bed, my eyes fighting me for some rest time, I switched the bedside lamp off and laid there for a moment. I suddenly felt the need for some tears, not upset or caused by depression, just a kind of joy of emotion. It was as if my body was saying, ‘look’, which in itself worth crying over given how many politicians start their come-backs in this way, ‘look, this is a hell of a lot you’re dealing with and just think about how far you’ve come and how much better off you are.’ There was joy and feeling of at-oneness all caused by a cancellation letter. It reflected how much I care about my future. I soon fell asleep.
By Sunday it was no longer playing on my mind but I still felt like I needed a boost. I’d already painted my toe nails on Saturday evening, it’s surprising how such a little thing can make me feel a little more human, but I wanted to get out there. I wanted to feel sunlight and the medication of the sea breeze. By the time I’d finished tidying the house and a few odd jobs the day had passed. It had started to rain intermittently in a fine barely noticeable mist that danced on the wind. I didn’t want a run by the sea to become some kind of disappointment given how cold it is still and made do with a run around the village with the view of the country. With a new pair of ankle running socks with beautiful purple tops it was enough to raise my happiness, my motivation flooding to the tips of my fingers and confirmation of my femininity. How I proceed from here is up to me.
Until next time.