By the Beatles.
Is one of my favourite songs. It’s soft, and subtle, and sweet. It reminds me of cycling along stretches of country road, as the summer wastes away into autumn, as the breeze is not so cold yet, nor warm enough for bare arms. It reminds me of tight black jeans, a blazer thrown on top, hair long and tightly knotted at the back, pristine for an interview. It reminds me of the tunnel to escape. Not long now. A week or two, I’m out of his clutches. It gives me a heartache, but not an unpleasant heartache.
Oh yes, it’s called nostalgia.
It reminds me of people I used to know, friends I used to have, could have beens.
It reminds me of my old self.
Maybe I was more happy, bubbly, bright. Maybe I was more interesting. Maybe I didn’t make it so bad, I took a sad song and made it better.
I did, though. I took all the sad songs and smiled through them as I sang along, cycling up hills and down hills and through fields of cotton and thistle. It was my cycling song. Through the sun and rain, panting, red, hot and happy.
Don’t make it bad
Take a sad song, and make it better
To let her into your heart
Then you can staa-art
To make it better
That was my happy song. Now I don’t have a happy song anymore. My bike gets left for months, whereas before we were together everyday, exploring the suburbs, going further and further. My painting is cold. My journeys are less. My social interaction has stopped. I am like an old and battered train slowing to a halt.
I shouldn’t be like this. I shouldn’t be feeling heavy because my husband doesn’t appreciate me. I shouldn’t be trudging daily in the same old boring routine. I shouldn’t be settled.
I am not settled. I am married, yes, but that doesn’t mean I have to be settled. I realise now that everybody reckons I need to be settled. They don’t understand my need to escape and be free. With or without my moody husband. He can come along if he promises not to be such an adult about things. And not expect me to be the adult. If his mother doesn’t expect me to mother him, and make sure he’s eaten and rested. He can do that for himself. And not to think bad of me if I don’t do that. Because I don’t need to. He relies on it now. He expects it. What started as a kindness on my part has turned into a drudgery.
And sometimes I am reproved for not doing it. For not putting his clothes away. I know, he works hard. I KNOW. I didn’t agree to living in a tiny room where I must keep all my possessions that were once in a big house in order. It’s hard to do that when you have one chest of drawers between you. I know, there is always a solution. I KNOW THIS. BUT MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO FIND THE SOLUTION. I DON’T WANT TO ALWAYS TIDY UP AFTER YOU, AND LISTEN TO YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT ALL THE TINY DETAILS.
OH, THE WIRE IS STICKING OUT.
OH, THERE’S DUST ON MY MODEL CAR.
OH, THE BEDSHEET ISN’T CHANGED.
YOU SMELL LIKE YOU COOKED A CURRY. DID YOU COOK A CURRY? I HATE THAT SMELL.
WELL, NO I DIDN’T. YOUR MOTHER DID. I WAS PRESENT. AND SO WHAT IF I SMELL LIKE THAT. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL. DEAL WITH IT.
OH, I WON’T SMILE AT YOU BECAUSE YOU ANNOY ME. OH, STOP TALKING, I WANT TO WATCH FAMILY GUY. OH, WHERE’S MY SPOON SO I CAN EAT THIS DINNER YOU BROUGHT FOR ME. OH. YOUR FEET ARE TOO COLD. OH. YOUR HAIR IS FLAT. OH. YOU HAVE SIDE FAT. OH. WHY DIDN’T YOU GO TO THE GYM, LENORA. OH. I AM A MOODY SOD AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE BEING HAPPY.
Well neither did I, Damian. But I am. I am putting up with it because I love you. Sometimes it’s hard to show it. It’s hard to love a man who only sees what he wants to see and calls his wife clumsy. IT’S HARD. BUT I DO IT. SO STOP TELLING ME YOU LOVE ME AND START SACRIFICING AND ACTING LIKE IT.
Maybe I married a child. Sometimes it feels like that.
I didn’t agree to this. I demanded we get our own place. I didn’t agree to move willy nilly depending on his job. Yes he is the main breadwinner, and I.. don’t… know.. why.. I agreed to that.
I guess I just want to experience my age. And I am not doing that right now. I feel like I am somebody’s mother. I feel like I am being controlled by another mother. Do this, go here. Oh, you’re back at 9pm, isn’t that late? Did your mother tell you off? No she didn’t, but you sure want to.
I want to be out till late. I love being out till late. Is it unsafe? Maybe, but I can’t live my life in constant fear and protection. I will not be cotton woolled.
I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t want to feel guilty because I woke up at eleven in the morning on a Sunday. I don’t want to feel bad because I didn’t get to clean the bathroom in time before my MIL cleaned it. Every scrape of the brush on the floor sounds accusing to me. I don’t want to have to think about my every move, every word I say. I don’t want to live under somebody else’s roof and I DON’T want to order my shopping on your online shop!!! I know this sounds plaintive and petty, but my goodness, I just wanted to cycle to ASDA and get my own things. I know you meant well, but insisting that I do it online with your shop just makes me feel controlled and not free.
My chest is tight, my thoughts are cold, I feel annoyed and closed in. So closed in.
I know they care. I know they want the best for me. I know I am part of their family now.
My husband is being a cold fish to me.
He wasn’t always like this, folks. I know what he is truly like. But hard times are pressing on both of us, and he always comes out worse for the wear. I smile through it. Sometimes I have a cry, and then I get on with it. I try to make jokes. Make a funny. Smile, give kisses, cheer myself up by doing impressions. But not he. He withdraws into himself, and becomes moody and selfish.
So I am getting in my car, and driving three hours to the beach, and spending the day there. I will walk for miles, I will feel the wind on my face, I will shiver with cold, I will breathe. Then I will decide what I want to do with my life, and I will do it.