With only a week between getting back from Alice Spring and my next trip, my housemate managed to squeeze in an early birthday treat which involved an operatic chef, a restaurant on wheels (tram wheels to be precise) and gate crashing a German couples last evening in Melbourne.
Far too many drinks were consumed and we both awoke to a rather aggressive hangover! We spent that Easter weekend camped out on the sofa, eating home-made nachos and watching episode after episode of Sex and the City. Tearing ourselves off the couch only long enough to open a bottle of sparkling wine with the view to feed the hangover and cracking open an Easter egg to share.
Now some might think this is a terribly sad way for a single 30 year old and single 40 year old to spend a bank holiday weekend but those people have never enjoyed the delights of having nothing better to do than watch 90’s reruns, drink wine and eat chocolate, sitting under a duvet as the rain attacks the window! It’s not a bad place to be occasionally!
“Are you going to be ok on Wednesday? I know it’s your mums birthday” my housemate asked. “Oh yeah, I’ll be fine, it’s not like last year, I’m not depressed any more and alone in a foreign land – well actually I kind of am alone in a foreign land but it’s not the same, it’s fine, I’m fine!” I insisted. “Well if you want me to bring some wine or chocolate home, just let me know” she replied. “Ah wine and chocolate, the answer to all life’s problems” I smiled.
It wasn’t going to be like Rio. I’d woken up sunburnt, hungover and alone at the end of my South American trip on the first birthday my mother would never have. It hit me unexpectedly, winding and causing an incredibly miserable day walking around Copacabana beach crying like a loony before catching my flight back to England. But that was back when I felt like there was no sunshine left in the world and had given myself a year; silently stating “if I still feel this miserable after a year then I’m jumping off a cliff, you’ve got a year universe, that’s all the strength I have, one year!”. Well as grief and depression goes, a lot happens in a year and the sun was starting to shine again. I was not going to walk around St Kilda beach crying, nope, I was fine, all fine, it’s just the same as any other day of the year.
I fell asleep Tuesday night feeling perfectly fine about the world and woke up Wednesday morning, the day of her birthday with the worst cold ever. EVER! What the hell happens while you sleep?! Does some evil pixie come and wave cold bug dust over your face?!
It’s a good job I was a jobless bum as I got to spent the whole day watching yet more Sex and the City and consuming so many cold busting home-made juices, I could have sworn my snot was changing colour!
When I was around two years old my mother got sick. She got the flu, the really bad flu when you can’t do anything and it went on for months; she became fearful she was developing chronic fatigue syndrome and having seen a close family friend suffer from a similar condition she returned to the doctor to seek advice. Eventually the doctor told her that there was no medical reasons why she should be so sick and suggested she see a psychologist.
The psychologist asked her if her parents were still alive, they were. He then asked whether she had suffered any significant loss in her life “well my eldest brother died from a brain tumour about ten years ago” she explained. “I see” said the doctor in that way they do “and what age was he when he died?” he asked. “Well the age I’m at now I suppose” my mother realised. The psychologist explained that a lot of people become sick around the age their parents died; it’s as if their subconscious is rationalising that their parents, who they learnt most of life’s lessons and how to grow up from, had died at that age so they should follow the same pattern. That they can’t live beyond an age their parents didn’t because there is no blueprint for how that works or what comes next.
Of course not everyone experiences this and if someone does it can also be metamorphosed as a mid life crises or other significant change in their life. My mother, who had idolized her eldest brother, on some level found it difficult to live years he never would.
On her birthday, although she was older than any years I’d yet reached, I was experiencing a mum cold. Perhaps because it was a year she’d never have and my subconscious wanted to weep it out through my nose and eyes. Or then again, maybe it was just a regular old cold that rocked up on that particular day. Either way, I was all snot, Sex and the City and cold remedies for the rest of that week!
“Oh you’ve washed the bedding?” my housemate returned from work. “Yeah, I was feeling all rotten with this cold and just wanted some fresh sheets to sleep in, you know” I sniffled from the couch, wrapped up in my blanket. “Hmm, yeah, well to save me washing them again next week when you’re away I might just give you a sleeping bag to sleep in until then?” she pondered. ‘errr, you what? The rent here is higher than London! I’m not allowed to wear heels in the house, have anyone stay over or cook if you get in and are hungry so want to cook first, plus I can’t even sit on a certain area of the sofa because it’s your spot! And now you want me to sleep in a sleeping bag?! No! Just no!‘ I yelled in my head. “Umm well I can just put the sheets in the wash when I leave” I said nasally, blowing my nose and coughing.
She must have seen the look on my face as I retreated to my room, box of tissues tucked under my arm and realised this was going too far “actually, it’s fine, yeah, of course, you can just stick the sheets in the wash, yeah, that’s fine. Err so how are you feeling? Can I get you anything? Do you need some cold tablets? How are you getting to the airport? I could maybe give you a lift? Oh, you need to be there at 8am on Saturday? Well I could possibly give you a lift? I will be quite tired from the week but no, no it’s fine, I can give you a lift” she spilled out whilst I sat on my bed with a headache, wanting nothing more than to cut my dripping nose off, curl up and die.
A few days later, still battling the mum cold, I dragged my suitcase down to the bus stop, in new shoes which after three steps of leaving the house had turned into instruments of torture, creating giant blistered holes across the toes. This required a desperate dash into the airport to buy some over priced Ugg boots on the credit card before my feet exploded!
For the first time in forever I had some good luck, a whole row of seats to myself and even a good looking man sitting in the row behind me. Finally, after all the flights I’d taken over the last year I was actually seated near a good looking man, at last, my chick flick dreams could become a reality!
He smiled at me as he took his seat. Then I sneezed. Snot, coughing and all that gross cold stuff, god it was attractive! He grimaced, whilst I slid down further in my seat, spending the next eight hours blowing my nose in misery and annoying the rest of the plane; clearly destined to never be attractive when hot men are in my vicinity!