Today I managed to drag Mark off the couch and drive me somewhere, anywhere. We ended up in London. We did a little shopping for about £10 worth, and had a nice cuppa in a café near Soho for a couple of quid’s each. I don’t know what it says about us that we end up in a café in the part of London that hosts the strip clubs and the sex shops.
If you’ll believe me, it is just nice to be in a part of town where I don’t have to think second thoughts about giving Mark a sudden hug or kiss.
It did mean that we spent about £60 on travel for a few pounds worth of activity. They say the journey is the key, not the destination. For £60 I sure hope it is. Still, I had a good time, and I enjoyed the trip, because I always enjoy going to town.
I don’t know why I always feel excited going in, as if I expect to find something that I didn’t find the last time. I also can’t put my finger on what I would expect to find. I tried to explain this to Mark, but couldn’t find the words.
It’s like there’s a magnet in me, and it is pulling me there. To what I don’t know. Just sitting at the window of a café, or at a table outside it, to watch the people that pass by is in itself an adventure.
The people that I see is probably the key to that magnet, because it feels familiar in some way to go and see other people. For sixteen years I was the outsider, looking in on life. Maybe I miss that.
When Maria, or anyone else that I used to know, wanted to see me I went over to their house and spent an afternoon or an evening listening to their issues, and talking about their problems, and discussing their futures.
To be honest. I never offered advice or suggestions. I’m not sure I have any wisdom or knowledge that is worth listening to. If the talk strayed into my issues, my problems, and my future I quickly shut the subject down.
It is easy to rationalise that with that my little problems weren’t important or worthy of lengthy discussions, and that they seemed so mundane and simple compared to my friends’. But I think that I was afraid to let them into my life. What would they make of the bug bear at the centre of the room, for instance?
I didn’t want them to know, so I shut out my best friend as well. Even in the middle of all those people, I kept my distance. A big glass wall that you could see through perfectly stood between me and everyone. But it was a one-way window. When they looked at the wall, they just saw reflections of themselves.
I used to explain away keeping the barriers up by blaming my temper, but these days I can’t really do that. I think there’s another cause. The reason I think that there’s another source for my solitude is Mark.
The ones that know me, know that I have a long fuse. They also know that they should use the time while the fuse is burning to reach safety. People think I’m joking when I say that. Maybe I am. But the joke is true. I go off like an atom bomb when I explode. It’s not pretty, and it always makes me ashamed. So, I try to put a lid on it. Rationalise everything.
I can feel like there’s a big old well inside me. Not an ocean, not any other metaphor for big and deep and wide. It’s a well, solidly built, and with a heavy iron or concrete lid over it. When I lose my temper, the lid comes off, and releases the volcano. But you need to work that thing a long time before it budges. But when it goes, find cover.
Not even when me and Mark bicker at worst do I release the volcano. It makes me think that maybe I have better emotional control. We have been through stressful times, and there have been times when I’ve been so furious with him that I’ve forgot breathing. But I’ve never lost it, like I used to do.
I call him my Mood Control Device, Mark I. The way he can defuse me is amazing. That long fuse never burns long with him. He steps on the flame, and it goes out. It’s a fantastic talent, and one which I’m grateful for.
Since we moved in together, both here and at Auntie’s place, I’ve not felt that wall. It’s like it’s gone. Like there’s a slight shift in the light where it used to be. Like there’s a sudden vacuum in the shape of the wall.
Maybe that’s why I feel the need to go in and expose myself to London, and all those people, and drag Mark along even if he doesn’t like loads of people. I mean, he’s not reduced to a trembling wreck, but I don’t think he feels comfortable among the multitudes.
When we’re somewhere and there’s a lot of strangers, he nearly always wants to leave quickly. So it was today, and our trip to London wasn’t very long. Just a few hours of aimless wanderings.
I’m glad we went, and I feel an unwarranted sense of happiness that’s kept me up until now. Or maybe the happiness comes from having him, and that the outsider is the insider here, in this very different context than the previous me lived in.