Here it comes: that grand, vertiginous ooze as an entire shelf of my cerebrum slides gently, but totally into the sea.
The school year is ended.
I don’t know what to do. I can barely think, let alone string together sentences. So far, I have made five cups of tea, read the bedtime story and put the children to bed.
And here I am: phantom limbs reaching out to invisible piles of marking. My school laptop is shut. I have nothing to plan except packing and domestic preparations. I am at a loss.
It wasn’t always like this: usually my school holidays would start with a hangover. That would give me ample excuse to groan around my flat, rubbing my head, sitting, standing, sitting. Now I’m sober, no longer inclined to burst into the holidays a drunken bum.
Here I am, sober: groaning around the house, rubbing my head, sitting, standing, sitting.
Pity poor me and my big holiday. Oh, the guilt and the misery: I should be active; I should be doing something – something charitable, worthy and grand. At the very least I could plan a cheeky unit or revamp our reading programme. I could…
Stop. Allow the nothing to wash over me. All that I have done hangs over me now: such a lot, such a lot. The pace of working life (most especially of teaching life) has an intensity that is comparable to few other professions. I’m tempted to make direct comparisons, but will avoid doing so for fear of inviting indignation. All I will say is that the hedge of the teaching year is deep and thorny: you do not exit as you entered. I am not the same as I was.
So I need to lay down my phantom limbs and let go of an old life. The holidays will refill those lines in my face; the colour and the shape will return to my sunken, grey cheeks (face cheeks), and my mind will reshape itself as something ever so slightly different: I will be refracted.
Poor, poor, pitiful me. Would that I had a divan upon which to fling myself; to hide in the folds of my quilted smoking jacket. And cry; just wrack myself into a catharthic festival of relieved sobbing.
Or I could just make another cup of tea.
[Shuffles off to kitchen.]
Now, who was I?