Tuesday 2nd March 2010
Gestation: 22 weeks, 4 days
One year ago.
Suse doesn’t sleep much. She’s fallen back into a deep hole. That distant place she retreats to; where her thoughts swirl around in eddies of childlessness and lack of hope.
I get up. I try to stay light. I try not to get caught up in it. I remind myself not to try to change it. And I remind myself not to feel responsible.
Sometimes, I’m good at it. But other times, I suck.
Today, I suck.
Sensitivity and consideration have been there for the last few days.
But I’m running low on stock.
I need a new compassion cartridge.
“How are you today?” I ask.
“How do you think I am?” Suse replies tartly.
“Not good,” I say, answering blindly. I feel myself winding up. “You remember how you got out of it the other day? How you reminded yourself how lucky we are? And that we just have to be grateful for every thing we’ve got, and appreciate this time we have with each other right now?” I stop for a second. She chews on toast, looking at me.
“If I could just ‘turn those thoughts off’, do you not think, would have done it by now?”
I shrug stupidly. “I don’t know.” I check myself, trying to recall. “The other day, you told me how suddenly you just realised that things were not as bad as they seemed. I just thought you might try doing that again.”
“You can’t just stop someone from going through what they’re going through, Mark. You can’t just try and change it. You can’t control what I’m thinking, or how I’m thinking it. You just can’t.”
I pause, listening; trying to hear.
Realising that I’m just trying to resolve my own tension.
“Just trying to help,” I say.
Yep. That’s it. Just trying to help myself feel more comfortable.
Clearly, I’m far less comfortable with Suse experiencing pain than she is herself.
* * * * *
I head to work. It’s a busy shift in Emergency, where – thankfully – there are screaming children and wild mothers, all of whom remind me on a minutely basis that I can wait to have kids.
The structure and busyness also keep me sane. It’s nice to not have time to overthink. Intermittently, I wondering how Suse is doing. I text her, but get no reply. By the time I get home, she’ll already be in bed.
I unlock the door on arrival, and there I find her sitting in front of the TV, with her best friend, Ella, watching some trash. They both beam back happily.
“Hello, love!” Suse yells out, throwing her arms out in caricature, without moving from her slumped position on the sofa.
“Hello, love!” Ella chimes in. And then, they giggle like school girls.
“Hi,” I say, adjusting to the scene.
“How was your day?” Suse asks.
“Good. How was yours?”
“Shit before. Better now.”
We chat away, Suse happy and content. Anyone would swear they were on drugs. But they’re not. They’re just content in each other’s company.
They’re having a friggin’ blast.
I hop into the shower, thankful that Suse has swung back on the pendulum, with the help of a friend. Help I couldn’t give. It was something Ella managed to give: by offering friendship, not proffering advice.
There are some things friends can give that I can’t.
And that’s okay.
I’ve got a lot to learn.
* * * * *