Hope in the rain
This exhaustion of January has leadened the sinews of my calf muscles so the stairs in my flat are insurmountable, it holds me in the groggy pause of awakening for hours of my morning, stirs frustration at the simplest wrinkle in the fabric of the day.
These endless silent days, shifting from room to room with an ache in my back from working on a kitchen chair, and an ache in my chest that I can't define and can't shake.
Something softly sad about returning to the kitchen hours after I left it to find a forgotten cup of tea untouched, my plate from lunch still in front of my chair, which is pushed away from the table just so, just as I left it. The gentle joy of solitude I have always craved, tarnished by the theft of intention.
The dog, here sometimes, restless and enraging, barking endlessly - why are we still here? She doesn't understand this monotony. Walking her at night, off the lead down the broken white line in the middle of wet tarmac roads, the citrine flecks of reflected street lights dancing up ahead. The sea, always present even in the dark, an aching expanse just out of sight, soothing us.
I woke up on Sunday and the rain was hammering the skylight in my bedroom. I haven't lived here long, so I still haven't fitted any kind of blind - the full moon steeps all the colourful spines of my books in silver as I sleep, and the daylight slowly stretches out through my first hour awake. It is soft and warm, the Sunday morning hush that I live for.
I got up late, baked biscuits in the tshirt I slept in and showered as they cooled, then delivered them to the doorway of a friend who could not invite me in. I stood in the rain, my hair still wet from the shower dripping rain onto my nose, laughing and making plans that a year ago would have been commonplace - but now are a game we play, taunting ourselves with the unattainable joys of places too far to go and people too vulnerable to see.
I walk home the long way, along the seafront, hood pulled over my head and hands in pockets. The sea is sick of this month. It hurls itself against the sea wall, throwing itself toward freedom and reprieve from the winter.
But tomorrow will be Imbolc, Spring. The dawning of the new sun, the stirring of life beneath the mulched leaves and mud and ice.
Every wave that crashes against the rocks, every raindrop than plunges fresh into the ocean, every drip drip drip onto my nose tastes like hope.
Some days I want to scream into the empty rooms of the flat. Crawl back into bed and slumber warm and ignorant.
Today felt like energy, like hope, like possibility.
One day soon we'll feel the cold of an ear against our cheeks as we hug someone we haven't seen in too long. We'll laugh and speak over our family around a table in a garden, the sun warm on our shoulders and the joy of it all warm in our chests. We'll dance in a room hot with moving bodies and move through air vibrating with music. We'll lean in and speak into our friends' ears over the noise, we'll feel breath on their necks as they do the same - we won't hear what they're saying and we won't care.
We will struggle, still, but we will offer our arms to those who are struggling. We will share quiet cups of tea and late nights talking for too long and sleep at sunrise and our hands will brush as we walk, shoulder to shoulder, through thronging marketplaces and buzzing city streets. We will eat delicious food and our cheeks will be red from too much wine in a busy restaurant. We'll step out into this same rain and walk home full - of food and love and hope.