Strange how most of the material for my blog comes to me during my walks to and from work.
I love this walk – it’s the only part of my day that I have completely to myself. Even when I’m at home, locked in my room, I don’t feel that same comforting solitude. I’m too aware of what’s going on in the rest of the house, what I’ll have to do when I go downstairs, my phone keeps beeping, reminding me I have people to talk to…I’m never alone.
But when I’m out there, I plug into my iPod and go. Phone in bag and on vibrate so it doesn’t interrupt my song. It’s far too short, but the few minutes I spend each day on these walks are precious anyhow. There have been days I’ve smiled all the way to work. There have also been days I’ve cried all the way back home.
Today the nicest thing happened.
I set off from home with the beautiful version Auld Lang Syne that I posted on the previous entry playing sweetly in my ears. I knew there was a dreamy smile on my face but I couldn’t erase it. The sun was bright but mellow and I had an early start at work but I felt unrushed and unworried. The first army soldier I passed gave me a huge grin and a cheerful suba aluth avuruddak wewa! and I answered in a similar fashion, waving as I passed him by.
Auld Lang Syne ended and after toying with and rejecting the idea of repeating it, I decided on another favourite of mine – a lesser known version of Ave Maria sung by an incredible male choir. Tears prick my eyes from the very first strains of the song, it’s so exquisite. As the voices swell, my emotions swell with them until I feel I could burst.
I was so caught up in it, I almost missed the second army guy who walked up to me, hand extended to wish me a happy new year. I smiled and shook his hand, repeating the greeting back to him and made as if to move on but he stopped me. I’m ashamed to say that I tensed immediately, thinking he might try something he shouldn’t but all I saw in his face was warm concern and genuine liking. I took my earphones off and he smiled and introduced himself as Perera. His voice was soft and earnest as he told me he’s been watching me walk to work through the year and he wishes me a good year and that I should take care of myself. He held a hand to my face as he wished me one last time and it was just… I don’t know. Such a perfect moment. I didn’t expect him to do that and when he did, a part of me was a little shocked with the familiarity but the gesture was so tender and so devoid of any sort of impropriety and just so sincere that I was speechless with how good it made me feel. As I stammered my thanks in my appalling Sinhalese, two of his fellow soldiers stepped forward to wish me as well and the moment was over.
But his gaze held mine before I turned to walk away from them and smiled brightly at me and my heart glowed.
I smiled all the way to work. It was such a random incident but I felt like it had to mean something. Something about the year ahead. I didn’t know what it could mean but at the time I felt it had to be something good. And that was enough.
* * *
The day ended horribly. I thought it was going to be one of those days where I would cry all the way back home, trying to hide my tears from the rest of the pedestrians. There was a knot in my throat that I couldn’t get rid of and my eyes were aching from the strain of blinking back tears while I stayed in late to finish my work. I almost ran out of office, eager to be on the road again, eager to let my thoughts rush and tumble down their own path without me having to moderate them all the time.
As I started walking and browsing my song list on my iPod, I reminded myself ridiculously of Ally Mcbeal. Each episode would end with her walking home from work and there would be some song playing that perfectly fit her mood and though she never said anything, you could always tell exactly what she was thinking. I could anyway.
Then I remembered something her manic therapist told her about what to do when she was feeling down about something. She said to find a song that totally undermined the pain that she was going through – something that described the same issue but in a comic way so that it would make you laugh rather than cry when you heard it. The song Ally chose to get over her pain about not being with Billy was a song called Wedding Bell Blues. This was my first choice of song today. It didn’t really fit my problem but I came across it and couldn’t resist putting it on. It made me feel a fraction better.
By the time the song ended, I had found the perfect song to rubbish my own problem. Anyone know Mr. Brightside? Haha, everyone does. Read the lyrics.
Now they’re going to bed
And my stomach is sick
And it’s all in my head
But she’s touching his chest now
He takes off her dress now
Let me go
And I just can’t look, it’s killing me
And taking control…
Jealousy, turning saints into a sea,
Swimming through sick lullabies
Choking on your alibis
But it’s just a price I pay,
Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
‘Cuz I’m Mr. Brightside…
You know what? It really works. I tend to walk in time with whatever song I’m playing and this one was quite fast so I charged along quite furiously, feeling my mood lighten with every step. I wasn’t happy. But I definitely wasn’t sad anymore.
I still wasn’t home when the song ended but I was close so I picked another, even more ridiculous song and that did the trick. Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights – it’s painful to listen to but it grows on you after a while and it’s really a fantastic song.
You had a temper like my jealousy –
Too hot too greedy…
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you too…
Bad dreams in the night
You told me I was going to lose the fight
Leave behind my Wuthering, Wuthering, Wuthering Heights…
The words are grim, but it’s sung in a melodramatic, slightly hysterical way – gold. And the video is too good to miss. I laughed during the whole thing when I watched it, my jaw hanging open in disbelief.
By the time I got back home, I was grinning from ear to ear. I knew the good mood would fade as soon as I took out my ear plugs but still, it was something.
* * *
So the 1st of January 2009 was a funny sort of a day. The incident in the morning still makes me smile and if there are such things as omens, I am convinced that was a good one.
I am also convinced that I have certain decisions to make and that I want them to turn things around for the better rather than dig an even deeper rut to trap myself further.
Time to snap out of this mood and turn into a regular Ms. Brightside.