I had a good day, it wasn’t today. I am a weather refugee, I am possibly the only person who migrated to the UK chiefly because of the weather (with sense of humour as a close runner-up). I am not much of a summer person. I come from a hot country and, unlike the Brits, I recoil in horror when the temperature soars above 22 degree Celsius and duly scram in the shadow.
So, while every Londoner is heading to the nearest park, to bare their flesh after work, I, the Mediterranean, am struggling and I have turned turn into a cast iron curmudgeon. I am also waking up, after a surge of pain that made me laugh.
Here’s the background. I have had a tough two years. I don’t mind too much, because I have also learnt quite a lot about myself. Nothing, however, could have prepared me to what happened in February; the death of someone I loved dearly.
Some say that if it does not kill you, pain makes one stronger. It made me weaker, more tired, it banished me to a land of muffled sounds and toned down colours, until something happened yesterday, that makes me hope.
I found a note that my friend wrote to me once, in response to one of my silly letters I used to write to entertain him. It was part of my modest contribution to a man who knew how to live and gave his illness the finger in style.
This note, in flowery note paper, said: “You are funny, God has blessed you.”
He signed it ‘Hony’, the phonetic version of my nickname for him: Honey. (My friend did not speak English.) It was that ‘Hony’ that did it for me. When I read it I started laughing, I laughed so much I ended up sobbing. Not a pretty show; since a walrus has more grace than my sobbing self, believe you me.
I am sharing this with you because I have decided to grow up and not feel guilty and ashamed simply because I am not ship shape 24/7. If life has knocked you about a little and your self-esteem is not sky-high, you know where I am coming from.
I have had enough of impossible, self-imposed standards. I have lost a dear friend, I am mourning. This pain is necessary. So, here it is, for all of you to see, I trust you to take this message and understand it. It’s in your hands now. This is my note to my darling friend, in a style he would have appreciated:
I saw your old note. Thank you.
It’s 30 degrees out there. Imagine a cross between a human and a sour lemon and you will know what I look like these days. Thundering Zeus would look more conciliatory than me as I write this, except that Zeus did not have to walk back a mile in the sweltering heat to retrieve a forgotten key. It’s a dangerous thing to have no brain and two handbags.
I can see you raise your eyebrows and patiently fold your arms. I can see you nod, inviting me to unroll the long papyrus of complaints.
YES; we are in the middle of a heat wave. What’s the use of living in the United Kingdom if you cannot count on rainy summers?
I felt seriously short changed all day yesterday, until I saw your note. Now I feel human again, up to a point though: my hair is still frizzy, my limbs swollen, my face could give a Hieronymus Bosch character a run for its money, but I feel like a mist is slowly lifting.
I feel as though I had stepped into a world re-acquiring its colours and sounds. I am waking up. I would not feel on the cusp of awakening if I had not had your support.
Thank you for offering everything you were and had, even when you had very little to spare. I feel rather than know it is time to wake up and be funny again. Let’s face it; I make people laugh without even trying, so I might as well do it properly. I will continue make a 1st class clown of myself especially as I rebuild my life.
Here’s to a new beginning.
Herman Hesse used to say that there is magic in every beginning. He was German, which means he could speak it without thinking about it. I am a rotten German speaker, so I will say there is potential for fun in every beginning (and I am saying it in English too. There!)
Do you know , Honey, today I stopped to look at a tree and I actually saw it. It was a cherry tree; its trunk slim, its leaves dark green.
I saw it. I saw the gold light that, as I walked past it, made that tree look like a large column surrounded by hundreds of verdant splinters. The tree somehow touched me. (NO, I did not bang my head against that tree. )
I am going to see a friend late tonight, I am going to enjoy the experience very much. When I see her, I will listen to her every word. I will play with her kids, shrieking with delight as they push me around. I will grab her younger brat and hold him upside down, and will drink in his cherub-like face creasing with delight.
This is to let you know I love you and I will not disappoint you. I am back, I will laugh again. I can do this, I am ready. Plus, the weatherman tells us rain is on its way. I will live, I promise. But don’t leave me. Keep watching over me.
All my love!