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Dispassionate Leave

7 June 2001
It's one of those days when Dan wishes his bed were already made.

So this is the point where I wake up and do what I have done every day since the day she left. Since she died, more accurately.

Stir, perched on the left side of the bed, which is odd because I always slept on the right before. Until.

At 7:15 sharp, I reach across the bed to turn off the alarm clock. Except for two things. First, the alarm clock is not ringing. The alarm clock stops every night at 5:40am. Every time I come home in the evening, it is keeping perfect time again - it has always made up the 95 minutes it lost. And it is wound tight as a drum, so the key won't turn more than a quarter rotation anti-clockwise, and when you let it go the gears don't catch and the clock is no more or less wound than before, which makes it very wound indeed, as if the spring had been coiled to screaming point the moment before my key turned in the lock.

Second, my hand always falls short because, as I think I mentioned, I am suddenly sleeping on the wrong side of the bed, and I do not know why. Tell the truth, this is what freaks me out most about this whole situation. So, I never reach the alarm clock, but my hand always seems to brush a shoulder, or rest on a flank, or a neck. And when I open my eyes, there is nobody there. Of course.

No, believe it or not, I thought of that too. But no. This is not grief, or some Truly Madly Deeply insane fantasy. It is a physical sensation of contact. But it never lasts more than a second. So, to be honest, it does not worry me that much. But I do wonder about the whole different side of the bed situation.

Trauma is a funny old thing. Back in the day, people would phone the office in tears, or just not turn up for work, so you would get the angry phone call from the boss, and the twisted amusement value of sitting at your desk hearing him go from bolshy to contrite to ever so small and whispery, as if you could coax people back into life and the living of it. Always good for a giggle, that - so much so that once or twice when somebody called in with a cold or flu, we told the boss that their wife or their husband or their mother or their girlfriend had disappeared, bloodstains on the floor, police not even bothering to be baffled. Cue line manager dreading the phone call in all day, or, if we had a proactive one, a gently-gently conversation initiated by the poor sap himself.

"I'm sure you don't want to talk about it,"

"Oh no, it's fine. I just feel very washed-out."

"Of course. Of course."

"And, you know, I'm sneezing a lot."

"Yes, that's natu-what?"

Great days. It may be a bit quieter in the office now, but you know, got to keep the wheels moving. Where are we otherwise? Pretty much nowhere, really. On the bright side, office jokers seem a little bit more susceptible than most, so maybe They are not that bad, after all. Sorry, bad joke. Coping mechanism.

Oh yes, trauma. I lost Jenny just when things were on the turn. And I ask you not to misunderstand me, I was devastated right there. I needed that week off. And most of her family was still around, so a proper funeral and everything. I come back, and all of a sudden bereavement is worth a morning off while you arrange to dispose of the physical evidence and in after lunch. People give me some nasty looks, but I think to myself that it is hardly my fault if the world goes into shock and I miss it.

There was a fizzer on the tube back. I hate those. The noise they make. Old fellow, and it struck me how rarely you see one of those. The men in particular. A real old school gent, he even took the time to apologise when the blood got loud enough to be heard over the train noise. And then the stress and the mess set someone else off, and by the time I get home I have to confess I am pretty fed up with the whole deal. I am not even a little bit surprised when I find her waiting for me, or when I see what has been growing in her eyes.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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