Kindness and tears
A poppy seller outside shops nearby reminded me. This time of year, five years ago. Remembrance Day.
In hospital but not in my ward. Maybe, after I’d come home. I don’t know. I often had to go back. Talking to a poppy seller.
I remember nothing about why we talked. I’ve no idea what was said. I have so, so many holes in my memory.
He gave me a special badge. Perhaps I didn’t have any money. I don’t know. A 100 years. 1914-2014.
Kindness is priceless, however small, however fleeting.
The badge is an entry to the past.
I’m crying as I write this.
So, some remembrance tears. And then …?
And then remorseless clocks imposed. With barely 17 minutes before my partner arrived.
Face still wet, eyes red.
Implicitly assume the strength is there. Look. Find it.
Nothing to hide. Nothing, but everything.
Wash. Think about something else. Hope nothing’s noticed.
The evening passes. Get away with it. Conversation touched on intracranial pressure but safely steered away. Tears always leave me weakened.
It was a meal out. Good food. Shared dishes. (Baba Ghanoush; Ghormeh Sabzi; Faloodeh; Baklava in case you’re wondering.) A social occasion. In public. Being in public helps muster strength. But it’s not guaranteed.
No. Nothing was bottled up. Nothing would have been surprising if my strength had failed. Not to me, not to my partner. Failure wouldn’t have been surprising, but failure’s always a disappointment.
It’s not a case of bottling it up out of cowardice. As with so much, you learn to cope. The search for the easier option was draining. It always is. But less so than not finding it.
(Tonight I’m eating alone and cooking myself chicken and chips.)
The why of it
I have to face up to my realities – the world I find myself in; the world that sometimes bites me.
I think there’s something liberating in honesty. That’s nothing profound but it is often evasive.
For tears to be prompted by an event isn’t in itself rare, even if it remains worthwhile to acknowledge it happening. What’s more interesting is that remembering the event prompted what’s termed raw emotion – perhaps not understood, perhaps not recognised.
If nothing else, the second entry here, looking at what happened next, retrospectively, is true to the ethos of ‘Getting Directions’ and being honest.