Cheers Now

Our neighbour is standing at his bedroom window when I return home from my walk. It is not yet 4 am. He is a night owl. He sleeps in the early hours waking in time for lunch which he has with his hundred-year-old mother around 12 pm. He is smoking. I see him as I climb the stairs at the end of the raised walkway. I have to remove my headphones from my ears. Good morning, I call, not too loudly so as not to wake the other flat dwellers. I prefer it when I don’t see him. Don’t get me wrong, I like him. He is amiable and was kind when he fell. But I prefer not talk to anybody at that time. I am in my head, my thoughts and having to make small talk is an effort. As I am sure it is for him. He asks how my walk was. I tell him it was a little breezy but at least it didn’t rain. He says that there are flood warnings in other parts of Wales, but that they seem to have missed us. I say that is it set to be fine today. And that he’s at least had his bit of sunshine (he’s just come back from Crete). Yes, he says. You’re lucky, I say as I put my hand on the door handle, see you later. Cheers, now, he says.

The water gathers in my legs. I try to find ways of combating it sleeping with my legs in two pillows in bed, whenever I am standing still I stand on one leg or clench buttocks or stand on tiptoe. It is quite a challenge, like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time. I watch it keenly. I do not recognise parts of my body anymore. Is this what getting old is? Before she died from lung cancer, the marvellous author, wit and critic Jenny Diski went from 8 stone to 11 stone due to treatment. Her body changed immeasurably. She called it her fat suit.

I know it is nothing to compared to what so many people have to endure. But sometimes I get frightened of losing control of it. Of drowning. I listen to From Our Home Correspondent to give me some perspective. So many tales of strife from Afghanistan from Costa Rica. Poor loves, I listen attentively. Their stories must be told and acknowledged.

Blue sky this morning with white tall clouds. We shall sit out later, he says. Yes.