Personal

Train, train, I’m all insane

On a train to somewhere and needing sweet-smelling loving arms to lift me

On a sunny, rhythmic train chug-a-chugging and squealing through lush, verdant countryside, passing purple rolling hillsides, bound for bustling Dublin city … and I am so, so sad.

My cheeks are taut and tense, my forehead throbs, my eyes are dry and tender. My chest is so tight, I cannot take in enough air, my fingers drawn to rub and clear my gagging throat. It’s like I am am going under …

Of course, I’m sure I appear outwardly composed, just another passenger on a train.

Change at Mallow …

“The Dublin train will leave from Platform Two at approximately 10.47,” said the announcer with the rich Kerry accent.

At least I was able to laugh at that … if it’s approximate why such a random-sounding number to be approximate with? Wouldn’t one say approximately 10.45, maybe? It made me smile a moment anyway.

As we often do in the midst of misery or despair.

It isn’t just the thoughts of leaving my wife and two children to continue on their break in a sun-splashed, balmy Kerry to go to work.

It is more, much more. That horrible feeling of being bound for somewhere, but nowhere special. Because I have to. Like on most other working days.

Is this it? Off to work in a fairly pleasant place doing work I quite like, for people I cannot blame for my torpor. Well most of them anyway.

I almost make conversation with the kindly thin older man facing me, with his full head of spiky white hair, neat glasses, and a tattooed feather on his left forearm.

He has a soft Cork city lilt, and is with his granddaughter, a sparky, giggling little thing with glasses, aged about seven, and her brother, maybe 10.

This boy already appears to be one of life’s appeasers. Letting his little sister dominate the game they were playing in a CBeebies magazine, polite — too polite, really — looking every so often to his quietly observing granddad for soothing reapproval. Validation even.

The journey is over soon enough, and I descend with the throng at a sweltering Heuston Station, and shuffle in my own private fug through gates and the crowds to my bus stop.

I see everything and feel nothing of what is all around me … the people, the colours, the scents and fragrances of city life, the buildings, the sights that were new to some of the excited younger voices my ears can hear but do not pay any attention to.

Even after buying my provisions for work I have an hour or so to kill and I wander without compass or conviction around the city centre.

I am feeling so down, down, down.

I pass through Arnott’s, a massive department store, now really a collection of booths and franchises, and I am passing a TV screen when I take the beginning of the ticker-tape headline on Sky News:

“TV presenter Cat Deeley and entertainer husband Patrick Kielty …”

And I freeze:

‘Oh no, what’s happened to them … what’s happening to the world, all these random school shootings and cars bashing into innocent people in Barcelona and Marseilles and bombs at Ariana Grande and in the Bataclan, and that Charlie Hebdo thing … and the public beheadings in London, and the world is gone to shit … ’

“ … are celebrating the birth of their second son”

The relief! Even though I had never given much thought ever to her or him, or their first boy, for that matter.

Doesn’t take much to set you off when you’re feeling like this.

When I don’t have a notebook handy and thoughts or phrases hit me, I text them to myself on my phone.

I had tapped out a few random things on my train journey, but one, in particular, stayed with me.

“Wanting someone to stop me and put their sweet-smelling arms around me and lift me from these doldrums … touch my aching forehead and soothe away all that ails me. Put a soft-fingered ‘shuusshh!’ to my lips … ‘don’t speak, don’t try to explain … it will be alright … all will be alright’.”

I went to work, came home and carried on.

Carried on to Friday night, when I arrived home late from work to find all the candles lighting in our gorgeous orange-walled living room and my smiling A waiting for me with a glass of red wine.

I could have cried with happiness, at seeing her, and all her subtle exuberances and feminine charms, incantations, sweet-smelling succour and … love.

I didn’t, I sat there on the couch opposite my A, calming down inside, stilling my crazy, troubled head, and sitting back, exhaling with contentment.

Home.

The next day was quietly marvellous. One of those wonderfully simple days that restore and let you recalibrate. Myself and A together, laughing, chatting, drinking coffees, at total ease and indolence.

Our O was engaged in Fortnite and World Cup stuff, and we barely saw K who was off into town for the Dublin Pride festival, and would be going on a sleepover that night.

I have to be truthful and say the absence of any of the usual conflict with our feisty daughter was part of this restorative process.

A and I were able to rediscover ourselves in a way, to simply enjoy each other, as we walked the warm white sands of our North Beach in the morning, and around the beautiful local park in the evening with our wonderful terrier Bella. Off to Tescos to select our drinks for the evening. Steaks, salmon, iceberg lettuce … treats.

Mother figure … wife … sometimes the lines do get blurred for me. My mother died when I was 14, so we parted on a conflictual note … with so many of my 14-year-old’s resentments unresolved. And only resolved now in a kind of way.

I think sometimes it’s why I expect too much of love … set up impossible parameters.

Wanting sweet-smelling arms to wrap themselves around me and lift me from these doldrums. It’s as if I want my lover to be able to predict my torpors and soothe them even before they arise. As a parent is expected to.

That is some tall order.

But I know that I have something like that with my A … we argue and make noise and I raise my voice sometimes, but really, like a child, because I know I can and we will be still unbroken and strong.

Arriving home that Friday night to my candle-lit grotto … and to those soft red lips drawing back over a slow, white-toothed smile, those laughing eyes … my companion of over 20 years … and now, days later, I go to work, I come home and I feel good.

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Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

50 comments on “Train, train, I’m all insane

  1. Lovely post. We all want someone to get us, no matter how old we are. and we all need to nurture and be nurtured.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. RaisieBay

    I do love your writing Endardoo, you bring me right in and make me feel your feelings. I’m happy that you felt refreshed and revived after a weekend with your lovely A.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! Like reading a great novel. #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great! A lovely gentle read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed what I just read. Delighted to find your blog! #MixItUp

    Like

  6. This is a lovely piece of writing, you obviously have a knack for it #dreamteam@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A really lovely post. You have such a talent for drawing us into your world and sharing your thoughts and feelings in a way that makes us feel that they were our own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah gee Clive, so nice of you. I think that’s why I like reading good blogs, like your own, so much … like you say, you get drawn in. World Cup still brill, eh? Some finish to the Japan-Belgium game!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, kind of you to say that. I’ll pass judgement on the World Cup later today! You really did have to feel sorry for Japan – they deserved extra time at least.

        Like

  8. Just stumbled upon your blog,and wow, what a fab writer you are! Could have been reading a novel! I am glad to see you are out of your fog and the love you obviously still have for your wife is truly lovely. #TriumphantTales

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Daydreamer mum

    I so love the thought of having someone to be a bit of an anchor when the mind is frazzled and wobbly !! Can almost feel the calm descend through your words!! #triumphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it does help … and it’s good to be the anchor too!! You sound like theuiltimate anchor for your kids — and hopefully for someone special ere too long

      Like

  10. Great read, thanks for sharing it X #mixitup

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’ve made me want to go and give my husband a big hug! Beautiful piece! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Do love your writing Enda. Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoy writing from those who have older kids than mine. Always eye opening and like you, I draw inspiration from very unexpected places. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So very.kind of you John. Very encouraging. Thank you

    Like

  14. There’s a lovely calming – almost dreamy – quality to how you have written this Enda. Like others have said, it’s like a novel, except the whole thing felt quite complete to me. There’s nothing better than getting home and really feeling at ‘home’. Thanks for sharing with the #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I am very glad, as are you, you have your A. ❤ #dreamteam xo

    Liked by 1 person

  16. emptynestmummy

    Oh that’s just so lovely and romantic. How lucky you are to still feel like this after so many years. #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Aww, so sweet that you have your loving partner greet you home when you need it most. Glad you got to reconnect without the squabbles of teens around you! #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I never have enjoyed coming home from a holiday but then I’ve never found a job I truly enjoyed. It’s lovely to read you have found your dream job and dream family. #DreamTeam

    Like

  19. Don’t know about the dream job … or the dream family, but I’m doing fine. Thanks for reading and commenting

    Like

  20. i really really enjoyed reading that Enda, it was like the opening chapter of a book…its the hook, i’m caught on it and want to read on. Sounds like you and A have a wonderful relationship . reminds me of mine with Hubby 23 years and counting. Home is where he is x #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Lucy At Home

    Oh that moment of walking through the door and feeling… home! Aaaah! It is so nice to just leave all the stresses out on the street and feel like you can finally relax. This is a great piece of writing! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Wow Enda, I’m feeling a bit emotional after that. I get you about the parenting thing, I think I’m a bit like you in that I have expectations to be parented by my spouse. I love how your A was so welcoming and kind to you, you are married to an exceptional woman it seems and I could certainly take a leaf out of her book. #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • She is exceptional and maybe I don’t always recognise that. I often hear the doubt in you but I actually think it’s a good thing … too much certainty is a negative I believe. I think with doubt comes empathy and concern for others as well as self … and I think it’s hugely beneficial to you as wife, mother and writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. #thesatsesh yes to feeling and a double yes to feeling gratitude and resolving emotions and acknowledging that they can be temporary. A powerful piece

    Like

  24. Lucy At Home

    Such a thoughtful post and so perfectly captures that feeling of being wrenched from home & safety, and letting your thoughts dwell there even while you are at work #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you Lucy. Delighted you appreciated it

    Like

  26. Pingback: The 5 blogs you need to be reading… | daydreams of a mum

  27. Cistern lá (aka Bláth)

    Moved to tears Enda, beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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