This morning started well enough.
I was woken up by LMS knocking on my bedroom and asking if I wanted a cup of tea, a question as superfluous as it was disingenuous. Because she knows full well the answer will always be ‘yes’ and I know the question is really her way of saying ‘You know that when you’ve finished the tea you’ll have to play with me.’ With a voice thick with sleep I said ‘Yes’ and then remembered it was a school day and by rights she should’ve been on her way to school and not offering my some working class champagne. I asked her why this was the case, at which point she burst into my room, did a victory dance and announced that school had been cancelled because one of her classmates had tested positive for coronavirus.
Now the correct response of any right thinking person would be one of – adopts serious tone – to express concern for the child, hoping that it wouldn’t be that serious and indicating sympathy for the parents at what must be a difficult and anxious time for them. However, seeing as how I am brain damaged demented wrongcock, I thought ‘Yes! Get in! Result’
Then it got even better.
The tea was washed down with the news that LMS was to be off school for two weeks! Simply wonderful! Some explanation of my reaction to the news that a child had tested positive for what in some cases is a fatal disease might be in order.
We’re moving out of this house next month. The owners are taking possession, a fact which we’ve known about for some time. Joe, Marge and LMS are moving to Swanage and I’ll be moving up to North London. All very boo-hoo, for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that I’ll no longer see LMS as often.
As I’ve noted many times on this blog, the transformative effect she has had on my mood is incalculable. Because all the various anti-depressant medications I was prescribed were as much use as glass trampoline. What did work and forced me to get out of bed, emerge from my room and generally stop giving up was a two year old girl banging on my door most mornings and saying ‘Get up, I want play’ Repeatedly, until I did.
A few years later it was time for her to start primary – or junior – school – I’m not a parent, I don’t need to know these things – but the upshot was that LMS would be going there every day for most of her awake time. I know that both her parents were counting down the days until this millstone was lif – oops did I write millstone, so sorry I meant to write milestone – milestone was reached and more people could be permitted to share things with her. Only later did I realise quite how devastating this was for me. Whereas before there had been the sound of exuberant laughter now it was all a bit Simon and Garfunkel. Far too much of it, and not the comfortable kind either, more the kind that’s more redolent of abandoned stately homes or Dickens novels.
That was why when the lockdown was announced earlier this year I decided to come back here, rather than stay in North London. Again I’ve written extensively about this whole period but the one abiding memory, the one that sums up why I choose to return and the wisdom of so doing is the following. One morning, as Joe and Marge were discussing yet another increase in the rate of infections and bemoaning the dismal performance of the government, LMS and I were sitting a few feet away discussing ways to classify farts. The thorny issue being what types of farts made what kind of sound. The kind of silliness that kept at bay all the pernicious doom and gloom, rather like expecto patronum to the dementors!
For this and a great many other reasons I’ll miss living with her. I’ll still see her, it just won’t be the same is all. I would say she’s one of my favourite people but seeing as how nearly all of the people I knew have excused themselves from my life, that isn’t the compliment it once would’ve been. That being unfortunately so, let me write that she is one of my most favourite ever people. Top five easily. I’m reminded of the line I heard somewhere that sums up how I’ll feel perfectly: ‘the absence of her means more than the presence of others’
Which is why two weeks of her is such an unexpected joy, and coming at such a prociptious time to boot. This morning as I was drinking my tea too slowly for her liking, she sat next to me, a stern expression on her face and said, “I’m radiating impatience!” How could I not be charmed by that? I get that it might be considered something by some people to be so thrilled at me finding someone else’s ill heath fortuitous, but really! Have I ever really cared what other people think?