Last night I thought about holidays, train journeys, meeting up for dinner, being close to people you miss. This morning it is raining with a papered over grey-white sky. Every surface is wet but a wet that’s set in, as if it’s been a while since the actual rain, but it’s settled on surfaces like snow does. At night I’m discovering new sleep stories on the Calm app. I have a handful of regulars but I need some variation. I don’t want to overuse them. Last night was about a canyon in Arizona. It was a man’s slow low voice telling me about the geology of the rock formations, it was interesting enough that I’d listen to it for a bit but I was off to sleep within a few minutes. I never thought sleep stories would work but once I learned the ones with a deeper voice, almost a crackly deep gravel voice work on me, I’ve had them on almost every night for six months now. It dredged up a memory from childhood of having my little plastic fisher price cassette player in bed with me, the loud deep voice of the man narrating a Thomas the Tank Engine story. I just remember the feeling of the wall of warm undulating sound in my ears sending me to sleep. There’s a whole section on Calm about trains. Train stories seem to be a popular thing for making us sleep. There are train journeys across Australia, Norway, the Orient express in the 1920s. There is a Thomas the Tank Engine one read by Kate Winslet, all about Thomas at Christmas. I listened to it almost every night for most of December and I still have no idea what the story was, it set me off to sleep within minutes every time.
Of course I wonder about the future a lot, but I don’t allow myself the pleasure of planning. Things are just too uncertain. I’ve spent hours (truly hours) watching videos about Walt Disney World in Florida. About the latest news, attractions, people just wandering around. There’s this channel called All Ears and they do brilliant videos with friendly presenters who obviously love making content about Disney. I cannot imagine the hours I’ve clocked watching their videos. I’ve never been there, but always wanted to go as a child. I was so desperate to go. When I go to the website even to check prices for some theoretical future, it’s painful to even look at because the dream collapses a little. I know we can’t go for a long time but that dream of going from childhood has come back recently, as a little daydream to help me through.
We’re been here in this flat for five years, maybe six actually. I’ll miss this place when we finally go, but I know I want to move. This place is too small and we have too much stuff now. Like with so many things, we were different people when we got here and we can only grow so much when we’re here as we are. I’ll be sad to leave, I’ll remember this place so affectionately even though it has at times been awful living here. But we’ve grown and changed so much over these years and I think if we stay here we cannot continue to make our lives better. Change is hard, unexpected, difficult. But staying put is worse, you’re ignorant of the badness you’ve put up with or made excuses for. You forget you deserve something better.
I sewed on some more patches to the current quilt panel this morning. The quilt will be finished soon and I haven’t fully decided what to do or planned for the end. Is it mad to just keep on making it? Just keep going on and on and on like the Winchester Mystery House? I’d not planned an ending because it all seemed so far in the future, I thought I had more time. I need to make choices about wadding, edging, things like that. The things that make the quilt warm and finished. The one I have from my grandmother, the quilt that inspired all of this, doesn’t have wadding, she was sewing it in the 90s, you couldn’t order wadding from the internet then. Because of that the quilt doesn’t retain heat too much, it can feel cool. I think I’d prefer to do wadding, to make it as luxurious as possible. I’d better get on youtube and watch more How To videos. It’s a thing in itself, of course but it’s obviously also a metaphor. I know we’re not close to the end of this horrible situation but also I can see that it could start being over soon, and I’m scared that like in August 2020 we thought we were heading to a better time by Christmas but actually we had this second wave, much worse than the first. Once this is over what are we all going to do? How are we all going to recover and live our lives? This is all just gibberish worry but that’s where I am today.
I collect my thoughts in my mind inexpertly like I’m holding an arm full of shopping and trying to get to the till without using a basket.
We follow each other around the flat doing and undoing things in the same four rooms. I come into a room he’s left with a window open, I close it. He comes into a room I’ve left with the light on, he turns it off. He grew up in a big drafty house, they keep the sitting room blazing hot with an open fire, when you leave that room the cold hits you right on the forehead like a stress headache. Every other room is frozen from the drafts and the open windows. Where I grew up, a small terraced house, my plumber dad was obsessed with the thermostat, always modulating room temp for comfort, never too warm or cold. All rooms with modern windows triple glazed installed by the window man in the village. Now we live together, grown up from these very different places, doing and undoing all day long, because we’re both always home and this flat is our own small world.