And so life goes on, like a river, meandering along with all those beautiful and ugly sights along the shores. Slow, deep, on and on.
There are things that worry me. What else is new. Once again, I am spending too much of my time with doctors and one of these occasions left me angry and bruised, in my soul and the crook of my right arm thanks to a botched attempt of blood sampling. There are still doctors (usually young, male and sun tanned) out there who are convinced that autoimmune diseases (vasculitis?, never heard of that one) are all in the mind (usually of middle aged menopausal women). Mostly, I give them a quick laugh and walk away but I have run out of patience recently. Let's not dwell on that one - I was not my usual friendly self.
And I have a tooth ache. Hah! This is where I turn into the ultimate hypochondriac. Not without reason, let me add. While the dentist - due to the absence of obvious signs and a couple of complicated reasons only he knows - suggests a week of the wait-and-see approach I lie awake at night considering the possibility of losing yet another tooth, trying not to freak out.
Some time earlier this year, the wonderful Angella wrote in a comment to one of my oh-look-I-am-so-ill posts I am at the stage of making peace with the pain. Reading this sentence felt like a cool refreshing wind on my hot face. I am not good with tooth aches and it is a struggle. A week, I ask R, how will I handle a week? To which he responds, Friday the latest, ok? Well, watch this space. I may hit the roof before that.
Ah, but the summer is here. Apricots, strawberries, cotton wood seeds floating in the breeze, pigeons cooing and long bright evenings outside. I really should be working but it's complicated because I have started on a big thing for a human rights NGO, free of charge - obviously - and heavy and important as hell. At the same time, a pile of medical manuscripts, all urgent and all worth a good bit of money, is waiting in my inbox. And of course I am dramatically torn between being good and greedy.
Which is why I am doing nothing at all - apart from reading. Bad, terribly bad stuff about the catholic nuns in Ireland and babies in mass graves. About girls raped and hanged from a mango tree, about a pregnant woman being stoned to death by her own family. And we all know there is more.
I think of my vagabond daughter and how at home she is in the world. And the countless nights I would lie awake, hoping she was safe, trying to reassure myself that always and everywhere on her travels there would be kind strangers, mothers, daughters, women looking out for her. The way we all - surely - look out for someone's daughter when we see her at a bus stop or waiting for a cab, watch over her asleep on a train, or looking for spare change in a busy pub. In the 1980s I went on reclaim the night marches. We were so full of it, really, the world was going to change, no less. And yet, every woman I know has been warned about walking back in the dark, as I have warned my daughter.
How did I get here? Tooth ache panic.