Break, break, break. Time accelerates then brakes against the shore of my leave. An office dalliance rises and winks away into nothing, like a fish leaping then plunging back into the ocean.
(It came and it went, remarkable only in its reassuring affirmation of my vitality. Alive? Check, yes, still.)
And then to the roil of work, of endless meetings and strategising, of handovers and passes, of writing, finessing, chasing. Days that stretch and pull you under, like a rip tide.
Swim through a sea of this: of agendas and minutes, of instant messages dinging your smartphone, of forgotten and recovered passwords, of surreptitious texts to your estate agent while forcing creativity during a “brainstorm” about another crisis in the world.
Surf over this: cooking, cleaning, ironing. Attempting to spend some quality time with the child while simultaneously resenting that time and then feeling guilty that you do. Tidying and re-tidying your soon-to-be-on-the-market flat. Trying but failing to ignore the trapped nerve knifing you in the back every time you move your arm.
And then the familiar tidal wave as you watch for tell-tale signs in your post-alcoholic husband, whose depression and anxiety rises as you prepare to leave the country for a few weeks with your child. (“What’s wrong? Are you ok?” “Yes, fine. I don’t know what it is. Just leave it.”)
But there are no warning odours. No red face or facial wounds. He is anxious about not having his daughter around for three weeks. You are anxious that he will be alone for three weeks. And worse still, about the possibility of coming back to a repeat of a few years ago.
Because this is the first time you are going away since he has been sober.
Brake. Brake. Brake.
Anxieties break against this shore. We are on the other side of the Atlantic now. He is in England, helping us sell our flat.
Our home of 10 years is on the market. And once sold, the break begins. One more part of our common past, broken away.