I’m absolutely fine.
I’m still doing the laundry, still using my hand as a duster round the visible ornaments.
Still pushing the vacuum half-heartedly through the pathway from my front door to my kitchen.
Whilst languishing on my sofa (the cottage is that small, honestly).
It’s the relapse trick – look useful and, ok, you’re … fine.
Which I am.
After work today I had my wonderful friend and her two children over for coffee. We are Uni mates and needed to catch up before the new term.
She greeted me with, ‘Wow! You look fab!!!’
Which is lovely. I had made An Effort. I even dug out the duty-free Clairol lippie I’d bought on a scary whim after being ganged up on by four beauty consultants in Dover. I had scrunched my hair into a random bob. I dressed in loose clothing and slouched in what I though was an effortless, writerish sort of way.
I really do think relapses are an exercise in deception.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if you have a partner/husband/wife, they will soothe your brow and take over. Not in my case. I sneak and deceive.
I rummage plates and bowls, clinking them together. I sigh loudly as I change a toilet roll yet again. I rustle the recycling. Loudly. Anything to be visible. ‘Look, I’m doing something.’ I really don’t want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Honestly.
I clank and bang around the house, an orchestra of a relapse.
In amongst it all, I just want to lie down. My sofa calls me. My bed calls me. I could lie down. I really, really could lie down. But I can’t. So I noisily chop and de-seed red peppers (actually quite difficult), and cry over the onions. I bang the tray into the oven.
I’m still here. I’m in the kitchen and I’m doing something.
Then The Teenager tells me he’s spending the evening camping with friends and can he have a fiver for the curry?
I supervise his packing. I stop him stuffing two of his brand new feather pillows into his rucksack. I tuck some money in and wave goodbye after a shower of Lynx and, well, more Lynx.
I got away with it. For now.
And. I can go to bed early.