A Sad State of Affairs
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and she has kept the same position since breakfast, writing in her journal, nursing each fresh drink, drawing it out so that her budget (small) will see her through until she is forced to give up her seat. She is in no hurry to leave, having nowhere else to go, no pressing appointment – except with home, and the house is depressingly quiet and yet still too full, inhabited by a long line of hours waiting impatiently to be filled, the space between now and then too vast to accommodate with any real hope of sustaining comfort or peace. Gaps scare her. Silence intimidates. Inactivity is threatening, like a beast with sharp teeth. She doesn’t trust herself alone, left to her own devices, because that’s when the voices pipe up and the thoughts, up until now hidden away, suppressed, emerge, and all that was just perched on the edge of bearable is suddenly torn without warning from the landscape of manageable beneath. At least surrounded by strangers, up against a window that presents a backdrop that is constantly changing, in a state of flux, she has company and protection. She sighs.. it has been a long day.
In town, her other half rushes backwards and forwards, no time for idling or the privilege of introspective thought. Pulled in every direction, dragged this way and that from location to location in pursuit, he is far too busy to think. Only when his day is done and his dinner eaten, the light upstairs turned out and the room plunged into darkness, does he let the emotions approach, and he has mastered the art of avoidance and learnt how to sedate, drowning in alcohol until all that remains is incoherent and incomplete, no longer a threat.
While she attaches her wellbeing to that short, shared hour: he seeks to achieve the opposite, switching from on to off as soon as he reaches the gate.
Repeatedly, she sits and recounts her day, only to fall silent with the realisation that the words she takes such care to present meet with a body that is slumbering.
As he snores to the left, she stares to the right, holding onto her heart with her hand to stop it from disengaging and falling out. Left with no other option but to return to her morning method of medication, she exchanges the day’s three-dimensional landscape for the television’s two-dimensional screen.