Night

It’s night, and everyone is asleep but me. Well, me and the cats. Me, the cats, and the neighbour’s tree frogs who chirp us to sleep each evening (and all through the night). You’d think something like that would be irritating, keep you awake. But I find the sound of them strangely comforting, and on nights when they don’t sing, I find myself listening out for them.

It’s the end of the holidays – life goes back to the usual routine in the morning. Steve off to work, Leila and I with our days. I want to do something different. Something that requires some effort, and perhaps on some days, pain. The path of least resistance, the path of comfort, of ease – that way leads to days, weeks, months, where you don’t remember a thing. You remember the days when you had to work hard, even if you didn’t like them at the time. You remember pushing yourself, and you feel proud of those times. I think I need to start pushing myself more.

Exercise, feeling good in my skin again. Something I’ve not really felt since my daughter was born. I know people joke about it, but my body really has changed so much since I became pregnant, swelled, went through labour (talk about bodily trauma: I pushed, but still had to have an epidural in the end because after eight hours of labour I was still only dilated something like 3 centimetres. Took drugs, brought on the labour. Epidural in the wee hours when I could hardly think straight, could hardly see straight through the contractions, yet had to remain absolutely still so the needle would go where it had to. Had to have the waters manually broken. An IV. A catheter. Pushed and pushed until I thought I was going to throw up. Horrible, awful tearing that I at least didn’t feel, and that was stitched up pretty much straight away by my lovely doc. No-one warning me that I’d have zero bladder control; standing up and completely pissing myself. Hideous constipation because, well, of everything. On top of all having to get laxative suppositories from the midwife however-many-days home. Insanity). A miscarriage last year. Not just a miscarriage. A trip to two hospitals. Four days. Four units of blood. Passing out because of the blood loss, first at home in my parents’ shower, and later in hospital after bleeding heavily all night and not getting any help from the night nurses.

Jesus, is it any wonder I haven’t really felt up for a challenge?

Didn’t mean to get all heavy there. But as I was writing the above I felt like I had to get it all out, write it all down in one place. It feels like a lot. Truly amazing what a body is capable of doing, going through, and repairing.

I’m fine now. Like, really fine. I can’t jump up and down without pissing myself still (so skipping rope, jumping jacks, and for all I know, running, are still off the list). But I’m cycling on a bike trainer Steve set up in the garage for me. Swimming in the pool as well. Feeling good about enjoying doing it.

Reading heaps. I’ve read five books in the last couple of weeks, just sort of manic, finish one and pick up the next sort of thing. It feels so good. I know it’s all going to change come tomorrow morning though, and I’m on sole charge of the bubba again.

Writing still hovering, slightly malevolently in the background, over one of my shoulders. At the back of my mind. Hiding behind my eyes. Always there. Lurking. Write me.

And so – I am going to try and force this body to stay up, after everyone has gone to sleep, when it is only the cats and the frogs keeping me company. Sun down, lights across the valley shuttered or else off completely. I will stay up and write, and not worry about it for now. Like Ishiguro said:

I wrote free-hand, not caring about the style or if something I wrote in the afternoon contradicted something I’d established in the story that morning. The priority was simply to get the ideas surfacing and growing. Awful sentences, hideous dialogue, scenes that went nowhere – I let them remain and ploughed on.

He shall remain my inspiration for these night-time dalliances with the page. So what if I am tired in the morning? I’m always tired in the morning. At least this way I’ll feel a bit better about how I’m going forward. This way I’ll have some markers of how I felt, what I did, what I tried to do. What felt so important to me that I had to suffer some discomfort to do it. Perhaps that’s why birth is so vivid for us. We have to work so hard to get there. Then work so hard to bring the child along. The pain! But we remember. And that’s what I want of my days. Not to forget. To remember.

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