Ahead of Schedule

We were due to meet in the company headquarters. After hours sobbing at Andrews side, I slept in a little, just until Seven. I slipped out before the builder arrived and made the journey to our office, just under two hours away from my home.

It was too early to start the calls. I knew that two men were making a very long journey a very far way away. The hardest thing was that this stage in the plan was completely out of my control.

The day in the office didn’t last long, I left a few hours later. Having to drop into a client office to pick up vital survey data.

Driving I asked Siri to call my father. We talked for over an hour, as I furiously questioned every aspect of the internal political family situation we were dealing with. The key takeaway from our conversations was to make a mental reminder to always check in with yourself, and be gentle. My father, a scientist, an engineer, a global resident and man of his time takes mental health pretty seriously. But then, it’s in a strange roundabout way. I think back to a few months ago, catching up with someone I had just met who fiercely believed in ghosts and paranormal activity, yet thought that counselling was nonsense.

The one thing 2018 seems to be repeating to me, is that people cannot be influenced. If you find yourself infuriated, it’s futile, put that energy towards instigating long term change.

Nevertheless, it’s a lesson which I’m still fighting.

After my father proclaimed he was hungry and wanted to make a sandwich, we hung up. My music automatically shuffled to Tracey Chapmans Fast Car.

Barely a few lines into the song, my phone rang again. A number came up on the display that I didn’t recognize at a quick glance. It was late afternoon and clients and suppliers and contractors never stop calling “Hello, Patricia speaking.”

It was my aunt and cousin. We caught for the remaining half hour commute, the first time we’ve really spoken for quite some time. Not just visceral chit chat, but catching up, human to human.

I pulled into the driveway, waved to the builder. Briefly as I gathered my bags I wondered what he made of us, put together in office wear with a classic flasher camel coat. Yet beneath the surface, the world is spinning. It’s unraveling.

As I walk in the front door and greet my father in law and Andrew, my phone rings. It’s one of my business partners “are you joining the call?” I grabbed my headphones and dialed in, pouring a glass of boxed wine at the same time.

The content of the discussion is irrelevant here. My emotional intelligence dial is on low and instead of gently meandering I get straight to the point. Andrew and his father fall silent in the room next door. Building a company with four strong males has it’s benefits, but at times can be exhausting. I excuse myself from the call and retreat to a little space within the four remaining rooms of the original 1850s house. It’s a haven. I make some more calls around family, the plan has evolved and a day ahead of schedule. I sip another glass in celebration.

I find myself scrolling. A notification pops up. It’s from someone close to the situation, arguably responsible for the situation. These pages have existed for a dozen years. Yet social media seemed to take over. The instant validation, the instant eyes which thus generated affiliates. When the eyes who have sought to dehumanize someone you care so much about, have impacted your view on life so rapidly, it feels, wrong. It’s like you’re a commodity and your life is accessible to those who commit so many terrible acts of humanity. I pour another glass. It’s divine. Andrew and his father have picked up dinner, I pick at it, unhungry. Then, I write a “checking out for a bit” message.

Tired, exhausted, drained. I fall asleep just after 8.

I’m checking out, and with that, feel compelled to return to these pages.

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Patricia Snook