Saving a Life

Greg and his lopsided family are moving out from the sodden flat in the basement. “Fuck” I hear him say in an exaggerated voice below my window, taking his last cardboard box to the van double parked on the street “A bit of this house has fallen off” he shouts to his son, and like those clutching to life in the boats that saved the shivering travellers from the Titanic he smiles from the car window as the van finally moves away. I have been meaning to move out for years, the chic wooden shutters that make this flat seem so elegant from the street have the reverse effect when you are the one shut inside during the winter months, it’s like being sealed in. I don’t mean to sound churlish or ungrateful, it’s just that it’s time to move on and I am not sure yet how I can, how I will or what to do.

I never thought that I would find myself at a workshop on a blustery autumn afternoon called ‘The Phenomenal Women’s Program’ and believe the possibilities to be true but that is where I was last weekend. After far too long being anchored to a stubborn depression, brought on in part by sustaining an unhappy relationship and partly by its end, I saw what it was like to be part of something. That something means more than the warmth of my ex lovers embrace when the love has gone sour. There were no lightning flashes or emotional outbursts and in its place just a quiet and sustained kindness. I felt what it was to care and be cared for again. The truth of it was gorgeous in its simplicity and it enabled me to see some of my more difficult relationships anew.

This understanding is what will save my life.

There are still bits falling from the hulk of me, some big enough to hold up a house, but sometimes the only thing to do is to hire the biggest van possible, pack the most valuable items and move on from what is crumbling and start afresh.