At the news of a new arrival in the family, I start to wonder about our existing connections. One of my best friends from school had a baby girl just over a year ago, and I was so excited, so ready to play auntie, but so far away that it turns out I haven’t been very present at all. And I wonder, even considering how much closer, technically, this new little one will be, whether it will actually make life any different. Being at the other end of the country, will I ever get to see it?
I wonder why my mum doesn’t make more of an effort to come and visit me at my home. This is, after all, my home now. I have lived here for roughly six years and have a base, a house I like, a steady boyfriend, a set of close friends who are on my wavelength (finally), a steady job (and that’s no small thing now) and a burgeoning career. And it’s all here.
I do worry that I will never do all the things I desperately wanted to all my life; travel, make a difference, learn languages, explore cultures. I used to dream that my ‘One’ was a black French boy. Somewhere, some time. Not anyone I’ve ever met. Just an image. I wanted to build schools in Africa, I wanted to go and save wild animals from poachers, and speak Italian as convincingly as any native. I still do. I want to do a creative writing MA at Bath. I want to be alone for a while. I want to have children. I want to do lots of things. How do you choose? And how do you decide when? I feel restricted by the very dream that I am currently living. Can they not all co-exist? I know my friend and business partner would firmly believe in doing it all, and all at once, but I know my weaknesses, and am dubious that I am such a Wonderwoman as she is. And she really is. She represents to me something I used to think I was, something that got replaced with the disillusionments I owe to school and college, and all the lecturers that said, “This is it. Get used to it.” The Maths teacher who showed us about the intellectual ‘plateau’ that became a self-fulfilling prophesy for me. Maybe that’s where all this uncertainty began. Before then I was excited, engaged, nervous, obsessed with things like women’s chests that were bigger than mine.
It’s not that I want to be shown a bigger picture, have my destiny talked through with a fine-toothed comb; it is enough for me to feel the presence of it, a looming but pleasantly comforting awareness.
I am spending my energy on appreciating the little things. Hugs, human touch, long chats about nothing. Trying new things, to me, at the moment, means buying grapes for a change. I still yearn for more, still have hope that there is more meaning to us being here. Surely beautiful things have been written because there is so much more to life than I have experienced. There is something I don’t understand yet. I would like to think. I am not so simple that I would take the arrogant road and be happy in all I know now. I am hungry. I want to learn. And do. I am, as ever, I suppose, unsettled. Itchy feet.
So, little brother… What I guess I’m trying to say is… I would like to be around more. A lot. I would like to know you. And do everything else as well.
(Something that I found in looking for a more relevant image, but that inspired me and made me want to share it anyway.)