Drifting

Here’s what’s new: ten days ago I left Berlin suddenly, brokenhearted. I feel lost and sad. I don’t know where I want to be. I didn’t want to travel in these circumstances but travelling was the only positive thing I could think to do.

Two days ago I was on a ferry. Two elderly women sat at my table. Are you going on holiday? they asked me. I’m just sort of drifting, I said.

Sometimes it all seems so goddamn huge I feel like I can’t move. For days all I could do was cry. I had all the usual symptoms: I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I’m not the only person this shit ever happened to. It’s kind of boring. Painful and boring.

I’m at a crossroads and I get to go anywhere I want now, I guess, except I didn’t want it this way so it’s hard to get excited about it. But I’m coming round to it.

Last Thursday I visited a writer I hadn’t seen in fourteen years, a respected journalist. I’m taking you for a picnic, she said. I made a unilateral decision that you’re a vegetarian. We sat by a river and talked about travel and writing. She asked me what had happened in Berlin and I tried to explain the end of it and I realised that it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. You don’t need that, do you? she asked. And suddenly I thought that maybe I didn’t.

It didn’t make everything instantly better but something shifted that afternoon. When I woke up the following morning, I didn’t hate everything.

The elderly women on the ferry were sisters and widows. They bickered together. She’s bossy, said the younger one. I am not, said the older one. You’re assertive, I offered. Thank you, she said with a smile.

When they asked where I lived I didn’t know how to answer. But I told them the places I was considering. I sounded free and independent and interesting. If I talk like that often enough, I can believe it myself as well.

5 responses to “Drifting

  1. go safely, nine.

  2. This is a really lovely piece of writing.

  3. I’m at a crossroads and I get to go anywhere I want now, I guess, except I didn’t want it this way so it’s hard to get excited about it. But I’m coming round to it.

    Oh, I know this one. Sending you so much love. xxx

  4. I’m glad you’re posting again. I saw the thing with the Loveparade and I did that stupid thing: Berlin, nine is in Berlin, even thought Loveparade was in Duisberg this year and even though it was 19 people out of over a million… anyway, you’re alive, that’s good.

    I have lots of experience of having opportunities that were in no way my first choice… I think that from most experiences it’s possible to wait and feel crap and then, once, for the sunshine to come back into life.

  5. I often wonder if humans were easier to please (ourselves, or others) whether the world would be a better, or worse (i.e. uninteresting) place. I do wish things would go smoothly for some of us, just for a bit.

    You’ll fall on your feet, you’re better at it than me (and put yourself in better places to fall from).

    Don’t think I ever said thank you for the birthday mention a while back; surprising, but touching.

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