I took a year off. I didn’t want to be beholden. I had so much stuff to sort out in my inner space, I couldn’t or wouldn’t allow these decisions to be influenced by external bodies. I couldn’t work… How could I go back to driving up and down Cheshire every day, when my beloved had been killed by one of the accursed tractor which had long been the bane of my driving days? Each one I met would be a sword in my side. So for three months I took sick pay, went and got a sick note from my friendly doctor, and worked out what next. After months of wrangling, I got access to our bank accounts, to car insurance and life insurance… I had a wad. A back stop. I worked out that I could not afford the rent on our home, the cash would not last long enough. So I gave up my home, my job, my whole life in the old town. I came home. I moved in with my parents and eked out my capital, and lasted a year. I didn’t not claim Universal Credit. I knew that would expect me to attend job search interviews and all the other hoops that you have to jump through and I thought no… I’m not going to have my grief controlled by an external body that does not care a jot about me. Same with Doctors. Once I gave up my job, I didn’t need to see a doctor, although I did need to in reality, I just didn’t want the labels they would give me. Clinically depressed… To add to my bad blood, (too much iron), my chronic back and neck pain, caused by spondalitis and stenosis, and by a crushed vertebrae in my neck, my chronic stomach condition… no doubt made worse by alcohol consumption… It was easier to self-medicate, I had pain killers on script. So tonight I’m awake. I have to go to a doctor tomorrow. Explain everything. It’s daunting. Just like going to the bank last week…

I’m having anxiety attacks. I will explain everything to him/her and they will agree with my prognosis, and hopefully agree I’m not fit to work. Then Friday I will take his sick note to Universal Credit and I will be back in the society, beholden to rules.

I have a plan, or rather we have a plan… because I cannot talk of an I when I am now a we. We will make art together and make whatever we can from that. And we will take trips. Do things as a WE. I have Marie’s blessing, she has orchestrated it… Such is her way.

When she finished with me back in 1977, she arranged for my old girlfriend to come up and look after me. That is/was her way. Bloody control freak! You know what I said to her then?

” I want you! Nobody else!”

Alas and alack… this no longer an option. Janet is my new other. She has played her hand so well, smacked my arse and called me Susan ( private joke). I have been an absolute arsehole the last twelve months, head up my arse, vacillating between tragedy and farce, stuff I can’t say, but she knows anyway… So close.

I’m going back to my painting, but not as a means to shut the noise out of my head, but because it’s what I love, and I will write and even listen to my beloved music collection, which is still so fucking hard, every other song makes me cry.

So I will get out of bed tomorrow, I will go to the doctors, I will face the depression which everyone but me has already accepted. I will go cap in hand to the state, in the hope I can keep my head above water, and I will make my paintings pay. I will go back to Amsterdam, even though it’s Marie’s city, and I will tie it up with a bow and connect it with Bruges and Ypres and wherever else I want to see.

Death is not an option.

Dale beloved of ‘M’ …we to J

9 thoughts on “AWAKE

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