Friday, 28 February 2014

The Thing Is, Is To Do The Thing















The sun is out.

It is the first time the sun has been out for what feels like forever and the park is packed with pasty faces squinting into the chill light.

I pick a spot on a bench overlooking the lake, and watch the humanity troop past.

Honestly, I think the whole of Cardiff is here today. All shapes, sizes, colours. Old, young, and everything in between. Parents introducing their newborns - tiny wrinkled peanuts swathed in blankets - to the outside world for the first time, now that the rain has stopped. Clumps of teenagers drooping about by the gate. In spite of the cold, a long queue at the ice cream van. Entire families partaking of an afternoon constitutional, as if it was Christmas Day.

A woman exclaims in amazement to her female companion, about the two men strolling ahead of them, "He walks exactly like his brother!" A man urges his toddler, "Look at the baby birds." (Although there are no baby birds - just a bunch of geese.) A young guy with a pair of mirrored Ray Bans hanging off a belt loop announces to his mate, "I'm gonna whack on a jumper, cos I'm feeling a little bit chilly now," and he makes this ordinary statement sound like a line from a Michael Caine film.

Dogs of all descriptions. Kids on bikes, scooters. Young couples. Couples who have been holding hands on these strolls for the last four or five decades.

After a while, I realise I feel overwhelmingly lonely.

I move to a quieter section of the park.

By the bowling green, a pair of magpies are rootling about. One for sorrow, two for joy. I watch them for a while, thinking about nothing in particular. I kind of like magpies. I like how they hang out together. I like their brash confidence. I like their secret colours.

These two are taking on the afternoon as a unit.

Sorrow is under the bush; Joy is in its branches.

Sorrow flies up into a tree; Joy pecks around by its roots.

Sorrow hops up on the low fence, keeping watch while Joy investigates the middle of the green, turning over stray leaves and twigs.

Joy, under the bench two away from mine; Sorrow, perched on the seat.

Those two friends, sorrow and joy. Is one ever far away from the other?

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I tell my counsellor I am missing blogging.

She says, just do it. Just write something. It doesn't matter what.

I say it feels too difficult these days. I say that I feel like I have something inside me that is too big, too terrifiying, too painful, to say, and that is stopping me from saying anything. It is a story about my father. Or, it is a story about a little girl who had a father but who didn't have a father; who had a mother but who didn't have a mother. It feels impossible to put into words. But I feel like I will disintegrate if I don't - somehow - ease it out. As Maya Angelou said, there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

You just have to do these things, my counsellor says. Just try. A little bit at a time.