I woke up early this morning, an hour or two before sunrise. I lay in the dark thoughts revolving around my mind.
At first I contemplated some story ideas – novels really. I composed in my head the first chapters of each, getting the voice right – different for each – and plotting the story from there.
My thoughts turned towards my situation. I wondered why there was not a greater sense of alarm present in me. Days from now I will have nowhere to live. As it stands I’m here till Thursday. Friday I have one last night at my sisters. I’m homeless from then, but have a brief reprieve baby-sitting for the Cheeses Saturday night. From Sunday I have nowhere to go.
My experience of the last few years is that humans can pretty well adjust to anything. Twelve months ago the thought of being actually homeless would have sent me into a dizzying spin. It was not something I could have contemplated. Twelve months on, while I don’t exactly take it in my stride, I find myself approaching it with a calm, almost resigned attitude.
I expect when the time comes my friends will make all sorts of representations to me offering up couches, etc. I’ll reject that. Much of it is pride, yes, but it comes from that sense of self that demands that I don’t impose on others unduly. I’ve always been that way, even when I was flying. It’s not their problem, and I can’t expect or rely on them helping me out more than what is reasonable. It’s my life ultimately, and my problem. I have to take responsibility for it, and if that means I must endure some hardship then so be it. It could be far worse.
At the same time lying there I felt some bitterness. Should I feel this? I wondered. I preferred that I wouldn’t, but I understood it. I need not be in this situation. If bureaucracy were less sluggish I’d have money in the bank and some freedom of choice. If others were more generous and understanding of my plight then it would not have come to this. For want of a week I am condemned to this…inconvenience. Even as I felt that I thought it unworthy. There’s truth to it, but if I am to complain at that then I may as well complain at the weather. And I do not want to be a man who complains, who finds reasons to feel unfortunate.
Like a brief rain squall it passes. I have no control of these things. There is no point in being angry. I remind myself once more it is my responsibility, and if I am to apportion blame then much of it lies with me – I got myself into this mess. What value is there complaining about the small thing that might ease, but not resolve the mess? I’m reconciled to what may come.
By now I knew there was no hope of returning to sleep. I snapped on the lamp beside me, and checked my watch on the bedside table: 5.25am. The cat squeaked at me, then again, wanting to be fed. “Go away cat,” I murmured. I wondered what to do. I slipped on a pair of tracksuit pants and padded to the kitchen, the cat following. I snapped the kettle on, prepared a cup for tea, then fed the cat. It was dim outside, but with the sense of impending dawn. I returned to bed with my tea and for over an hour I read.
For the last 40 minutes I’ve been sitting up in bed writing this. It’s now 7.45. The world is rousing about me. It’s light out. The clouds are low in the sky. I’ll get up and shower in a minute. I’ll dress, and perhaps I’ll go for a walk seeking out a convivial coffee where I can sit with a latte and watch the world come to life.