Textling #52

Suddenly a third illness looms, and I am scared and unsettled in strange, contrary ways, hoping for and dreading yet another diagnosis. Time for a professional disease (not this preposterous amateur affliction); a new label, steel blue, rule book cool, with proper treatment options, and above all else: one where fatigue is a side show and not the centre, the crummy sun around which all of life revolves.

The doctor treats my need to lie down half way through consultations as an eccentricity – my own fault, I did ride in on a steed called Rolling Pin, without a saddle. She repeats over several appointments ‘I am sure it is nothing’; another finds the scan alarming. I want it to be nothing (lest something turns out to be life-shortening), I want it to be something (lest nothing means more of the same). I am pathetically, perversely torn, as if I considered wishing a genuine source of influence. What if #3 were the sister who moves to Moscow after all and pulls her hapless siblings in her trail; the blazer who, sickle in hand, cuts paths through medical undergrowth, carves gates in walls, marches ahead with go-getting, new sight-setting good sense? What if she falters, sprawls with the other two on a bed that is much too small?

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Textling #51

The question ‘how are you?’ isn’t easily answered. How many ways to say you’re tired? How often can you say you are? Fatigue’s myriad facets – light-headed (as if falling into a faint), leaden, breathless, pain-ridden, dizzy, dopey, feral, fretful, hyper, perfectly still, a form of suspense, of stasis, of falling – are at best interesting to the ‘owner’ who is on the look-out for differently hued sensations when there’s nothing else.

Staying in touch, even by email, is an entangled task. The longer the silence, the more beleaguered the place from which you speak. You emerge, wave your bit of bunting about, and disappear again. Balls are dropped, utterances measured, maybe too harshly. Stand-alone phrases like “I think of you often” which lap at your shore after weeks, months, longer, and practically preclude response, seem like a slap-down, a form of masticated casual kindliness. You feel petty for saying this, bothersome, but imagine you receive a letter in the post and recognize an old friend’s handwriting. When you open the envelope you find it empty.