Bitter choices

For the most part these last few days in Melbourne have been filled with wild weather. Gale force winds that batter the house and uproot trees have seemed an incessant force. They blow, pushing at the house so forcefully that if it were less insubstantial you think it must topple over; then the wind pulling back for a moment, as if it to gather it’s breath, as if to have another go. You sit inside, you lay in bed, you listen to it with wonder, take in the contant noise, not just of the wind but of the sounds it causes – the rattle of loose things outside, the heave of the satellite dish straining at the bolts fixing it to the house, the trees bending, leaves shaking, a loose object careening down the driveway and a bin being overturned. Then comes the rain, thick and constant, and the storm, the sky lit up by lightning, or grey with gathered clouds. It’s been like this for days.

This morning is more peaceful. After another wild night the storm for the moment appears to have abated. It seems apt timing, and an apt metaphor for the events of the last few days.

The last few days have been a struggle in the H household. I got news of a pending catastrophe. I could do something, perhaps, to ward it off. But what?

Much of the last two days has been frantic in trying to find a way. At about 4.30 last night, almost at the last minute, the catastrophe was somehow averted. I subsided into a kind of exhausted relief: I could live again. Later though as the storm brewed outside and as I watched TV I felt myself tumble down the far side of what had happened.

The day was saved, but at what cost? Last night I felt a deep and bitter remorse for something I had little choice but to do. That’s the pity of it all, this was pretty much my sole remaining option, but I feel as if something pretty basic to me has been compromised in the process. Intellectually I know it had to be – the end demanded it; but the means sit badly with me.

This will be one of those ambiguous posts because I can’t bring myself to relate the full story. I am embarassed, even ashamed. I wonder if in my actions yesterday I finally broke the thing inside of me that has held me true, has kept me together. I have done things I never thought I would, never thought I’d have to, things well below the level of what I think personally acceptable. I feel diminished and unreliable. I know there will be people I will avoid seeing now because in my weakness I don’t know that I can look them in the eye with the same sense of self as before.

The wretched thing is that I don’t know that I could have done any differently. It’s a terrible thing when all your choices are bitter.

They say it will storm again this afternoon, that the wild weather will return. That seems apt too.

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