I have absolutely no reason to still be awake. It is one thirty in the morning in London, UK. I am sitting here at the computer after an hour of tossing and turning next to my husband. The bed is getting tired of my movement, making awkward sounds as I turn from side to side. I’m worried I might wake him up; so I leave.
Why am I awake? Why am I restless? I am not used to being out of my usual sleep routine. That’s what holidays are for right? Instead, I feel guilty to relax. A lie-in feels wrong and unjustified.
I suppose that’s the downside of working in a school. Your body clock is always set for an early start and any other way just ruins it. The temptation now is to stay up until I’m exhausted and wait to conk out completely. Only to wake a few hours later as my husband goes to work to reset my body clock.
I may have to say ‘goodbye’ to the lie ins.
My father called me that afternoon as I made my way to meet a friend for dinner. It was two days since we had last spoken and I was wary when answering the phone. We were not back to having regular contact and I was worried that getting in touch on the 16th was the wrong decision.
As I was on the bus, he told me he had been rushed to hospital the previous night. My heart sank. My memories of him being in hospital had never been good. I began to worry of what he may expect from me.
He said it was serious and again my heart dropped. Now I had to deal with the fact that it wasn’t a prostate problem or a torn ligament, my father may actually be seriously ill. It was a lot to take in so quickly. The doctors at the hospital, after numerous tests, had come to the conclusion that his suffering was either Tuberculosis or Lung Cancer. Both sounded horrific and both petrified me. More tests were needed to determine what it actually was. As I took in the magnitude of the situation, I asked him how he got to the hospital. He explained how he had called an ambulance in the night when realising he could not breathe.
I could not believe it. Three years back when I had my Asthma attack, he refused to call me an ambulance! My life was clearly not as important as his.
He began listing orders:
- I was to come the next day and bring him a set of clothes including underwear
- He needed all his bank cards
- I had to bring his mobile phone
- David or I needed to check the house to make sure it was okay.
Many other things were said but I had stopped listening. I did not want this role he was forcing on me. I had not talked to him for two weeks because he had told me never to speak to him again. He condemned me as a daughter and now he expected me to take care of him and the house, that it all gets forgotten just because he is ill. Is that selfish? Is that evil? Yes, it probably is but I was working so hard to break free, to cut all the emotional ties and feel secure and strong. This was the worst thing that could’ve happened.
I told him it would be impossible to come the next day. He said he would’ve asked my sister but she wouldn’t return from Norfolk until Friday. I had to do it. Of course, I wasn’t surprised she knew his state before me. I barely knew anything about my father any more. I reminded him that I had a job to do and that it was a very important week at work. He muttered angrily down the phone, scolding me for being so insensitive. I told him I would come on Friday too as I was working a half day. It was just about enough to pacify him.
I should really be asleep right now but having lay in bed for the past two hours with no sign of dropping off, I have officially given up.
Something is on my mind……..
I had a response to the last “spiteful girls” blog, an unpleasant one. It was clearly someone who knows N and was not happy about my post. They mirrored N by telling me to assess myself and look at my “own faults”.
I have never said I’m faultless. Quite the opposite. I find fault in almost everything I do.
They also made the point that I needed “help”.
I needed help from N ten years ago. Writing is my help. It allows me to speak out and share my experiences. Experiences that are mine. Nobody can deny that. They happened to me. Anger won’t get you anywhere, I’ve learnt that. It isn’t about revenge. Silence is not the answer. How many more women have to keep their mouths shut to save the reputation of others? I can understand that other people may not and might never have seen N in the same light as me. It doesn’t mean what happened to me didn’t exist. She was and is a clever girl.
So right now, I am awake. With this now on my mind.
Conclusion of “spiteful girls” tomorrow.
Or should I say today?