‘random’ was a word much over-used by my children a couple of years ago. they used it in the sense of ‘gloriously unpredictable’, a celebration of the unexpected.

I have always tried to create stability and order in my working and family life. Regular routines for which child does what when, keeping up with the laundry, attending parents’ evenings, making sure they did their music practice, not running out of loo roll, remembering far flung relations’ birthdays…

But much of this tidy life was achieved at the expense of the evening hours, which became increasingly shambolic in the months leading up to my decision to get sober. A day shoehorned full of work, activities, homework, housework ended ceremonially when the wine came out. ‘My’ time. hollow laugh. because the evening began to start earlier and earlier. and soon the next morning was undermined by the preceding evening. it resembled one of those shouldntbeallowed daytime television advertisements which promise to consolidate all your existing loans into one easy package – at astronomical rates of interest so you will never, never repay the original sum.

now on day 107 the sober life is still new, the bloom still upon it. the routines I dwelt among for months and years are shaken up, kicked up. the furniture of my life has been thoroughly re-arranged and nothing is where it used to be. sometimes I stub my toe on a side table that used to be in the other room. sometimes I reach for a light switch that is no longer there.

and yes, on the whole this life, this arrangement, is infinitely better than the past life.

but sometimes the shade of the woman who used to be me tugs at my sleeve. asks, piteously, if she can come home now?

I disengage myself gently, move away, look ahead. I don’t have a hand free to carry her any more: I am holding the hands of my children. I don’t have any spare time to spend with her: it is full of activities that exist independently of her. if I look at her I see my other future, the one that I would have had if I continued on that other path, where the illusion of order and control was bought at far too high a price.

so for now, not knowing where I am going is fine. not knowing how I am going to get there – ditto. random is good. sometimes the meals you make out of what is in the fridge are the best you have ever tasted. if made with love, care and attention.

and, apparently, sometimes it is ok to do just exactly what I want to. which is damn lucky.

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