Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Monday 1 September 2014

Time and Tide and A God’s Squeezebox

And so, it’s September.

I don’t know whether time is a recurring theme in my work, but I do know it’s a recurring theme in my life.

It’s September... already!

This is the first September that I’m not sending a child to a school of some kind since September of 1993, and it feels rather strange. Twenty plus years of the autumn being punctuated by the ritual of delivering a child or children to the school gates is over.

I don’t know where this year has gone, and I don’t know where two decades have disappeared to.

Time does strange things to everyone. It’s as if it lives in some fickle god’s squeeze box and he plays it unrelentingly and with boundless vigor. 

I don’t know if it’s true of all depressed people, but imagine that god is a multi-limbed monster existing in multiple dimensions pounding away at a squeezebox that resembles enough old fashioned paper chains to decorate Buckingham Palace at Christmas. That’s how time works for me.

Right now, I’m a nineteen year old girl in a fifty year old body with a husband I’ve known for over thirty years and two kids in their twenties. I have virtually no short-term memory and yet I have a large stock of trivia in my head. I don’t remember the people I was at college with, but I know the name that belongs to each face on the school photo taken when I was seven. I don’t remember the layout of the last office I worked in, but I can reel off the reg numbers of the cars my father drove until I left my parents’ home. I can’t recall what I ate yesterday, but the taste of my grandmother’s sausage pie is in my mouth. I don’t remember the classes I took at college or the books I’ve read this year, but I can still recite most of the Shakespeare soliloquies I learned for my O’level exams. I remember the dress I wore on my fifteen birthday, but not the one I wore on my last birthday.

I regularly have to turn to the husband to ask whether I have seen a movie or read a novel. I don’t remember the title of the last short story I wrote.

Time deceives me in so many ways, and is so elastic. Weeks and months can pass by without me noticing, and yet an hour or a day can feel like a lifetime.

Then there are the reminders.

Donna and Matthew have been with us since Friday, and it’s been a real pleasure to have them here. I knew it would be. I hope I haven’t been dull company. I have felt dull, and negative, too, at times, but they know that I’m depressed, and they seem content to forgive me. I love them for it.

James in a water maze 2010
Happy times!
It seems like five minutes since they were here four years ago, and much of their last visit was lost to me in the mists of time. You see how I can say ‘five minutes’ and ‘mists of time’ and yet be referring to the same four years? But having them back and talking to them has reminded me of the places we visited, of the weather, of the  meals we ate together and of the conversations we had the last time they were here. This visit has brought back much of the last, a sense of a happier time for me. It has brought back sunny September days, laughter and the very lovely James, who didn’t fly out with Donna and Matthew this time; somehow, he’s certainly here in spirit.

So, I’ve been having a tough time, and I had a rocky start to the day, today, but when I sat down to write this blog a little ray of sunshine broke through the fog.

Here’s the thing about time: It passes. And with it, other things pass, too.

Some days I fight it. Some days I’m fighting a fighting battle, and some days I’m fighting a losing battle, and some of those days feel like lifetimes. 

But when all is said and done, this too shall pass.

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