We drove down to London from Stratford mid-January, found our place, parked, confirmed the length of our stay with the manager who warned the time would go by fast, which was fine by me: we’d been out of our house since June, on the road since late October, and I was beat. We brought in our things, I walked to the store and we settled in, made believe it was our home for a time.
We went to the theater three times in a week and once, as we were just getting out, Dawn had to call in for a work meeting so we arranged for a cab, and it was a good 45 minute drive with the traffic back to our place, all of us sitting in the car quiet with Dawn on her phone, watching the lights of London, crossing bridges, so vast: no idea where on earth we were.
In the mornings I’d take walks around our neighborhood, but it seemed I was going against the flow of all the others on their way to the train, to work, and I studied them, and wondered what the hell I was doing with my life. I caught myself in an off-leash dog park muttering, laughing loudly, flapping my hands, making myself out to be some character but deeply confused, emptied-out, with no work to identify with.
When we left London there was no dramatic scene backing out of our flat—a few hours later we arrived at the next place, a stone cottage in a small town outside of Bath: the kids descended upon the DVDs, found a BBC production of Pride & Prejudice with multiple discs, and between the three of them (Dawn, Lily and Charlotte), they watched the whole thing, twice.
And I took long baths, walks every morning, cooked every night, wrote every morning, finished the book Catch-22 in about five hours.
Nothing perfect or terrible ever lasts as long as you’d wish or fear it would. Today at work they asked if I’d be interested in another contract that would double my number of hours each week and without hesitating I agreed—and when I got home the rain was back, it dribbled down the spout and cracked like a record and it was only 2:30 but I lay down to rest and listen to it sputter, and an hour later realized I’d dozed off, and couldn’t tell if it was day or night, or where I was for a minute.