Are you sleeping? Is anyone sleeping? Instead of sleeping, there’s just a technicolour litany of shame and horror playing on a loop. All those conversations from your past when you proved to yourself that you are the dick you’ve always suspected you are. It’s like your soul is projecting these flashbacks onto the ceiling. Conversations like…
The one in the park in lockdown
Remember the first lockdown? *laughs hysterically* It is entirely possible that you bumped into someone in the park and when they asked you how it was going, you were having a good day and you were oppressively perky. PERKY. At which point the person burst into tears, listing the myriad horrors facing them and now you cannot pass that point in the park without getting a full body shame sweat.
The boyfriend and school friend who dumped you to go out with each other
They phoned you together on the landline, you could hear the rustling of the cord as it wrapped around them and their nervous giggles; full of the burden of their happy knowledge: he had fallen for her so they were both dumping you. But they couldn’t help it because… love. You were so shocked that you just said, “Fine, of course it’s fine.” It was definitely not fine. Now all you want to do is replay that conversation as if you were, “Wow, you are both arseholes and this will last for three weeks.” Which it did.
The one with the checkout person in 2011
Yes, it is petty and pathetic to still be thinking about Linda and her attitude. But really she was so rude about the fact that you wanted to get a different, less mouldy aubergine. You hadn’t seen its degradation when you put it in your basket. And you wish you’d told her that instead of APOLOGISING as she berated you for your vegetable inefficiency and the fact that there was a long snaking queue of angry shoppers with metaphorical pitchforks behind you. Sometimes you are still just that girl, standing in front of a checkout, feeling like the world is ending.
The one with the maniac at the wedding
Seat plan from purgatory: An ultra-coked up man in a top hat who starts ranting about the joys of living off-grid. About how you are all sheep for being on Facebook (you were not on Facebook). About how the Government is watching you (pretty sure that, at that point, anyway, the government was not in the least bit interested). About how you are working for the man. You are pretty sure that you were working for a woman. The intolerable smuggery as he starts tapping his head saying, “You don’t think. That’s your problem!” before strutting off to snort powder made from crushing the lives of disenfranchised people. You still get rage flushes thinking about it.
The one with a single mother
You make a comment TO THEIR CHILD about how the playdate is over now because you want to spend time as a family now that ‘Daddy is home’. It is possible that you will never forgive yourself. You put on the emotional hair shirt at least once a week. It loops endlessly like Nightmare on Elm Street – one, two… this memory is coming for you. Oh GOD…