Usefulness

I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but I didn’t think it was a useful or helpful or realistic aim and so I thought I’d be a doctor or a psychologist instead. I wanted to do something with my life that helped people, that made someone else feel better. I like making people feel better. Three weeks into my psychology degree I was climbing the walls. I went to see the head of the music department about changing to a music degree and as I sat waiting for him in his office, I was playing Claire de Lune with my fingers and the music in my head was perfect enough that I didn’t hear him come in or notice him standing in the door, watching me. My hands wouldn’t let me stay, but I still play Claire de Lune without a piano.

Chris left at dawn and came back rather late yesterday. I spent the day alone in a haze of pain, feeling utterly useless for it. He came upstairs after a very long day and I burst into tears round about ‘hello’ and he sat on the edge of the bed and stroked my hair and made soothing noises and let me cry. I cry a lot. I am absent more than I am present, choosing to escape into my world of music and books and fairy tales. People sometimes bring me back and I’m never sure if that’s a good thing or not. I cried last night until my voice was hoarse and when I ran out of tears he was still just there, letting me touch him. It was then that I realised he waited all day to come home to me and even though I was crying in bed, having me here was comforting.

I’m no good with people. I’m awkward and shy and stand-offish and perpetually put my foot in my mouth. I get clingy and neurotic when I hurt and euphoric and caught up when I don’t and being that egocentric makes for a very poor friendship. But I have had my moments. When I was little, I used to insist that my mum sit next to me and hold my hand whilst I drank my tea. I wouldn’t drink it unless she sat there the whole time, holding my hand and just being company. She used to say that that summarized my personality really well, that I want and need to be the centre of attention. I believed her without question. It wasn’t until Chris came home last night and I started crying that I realised it wasn’t that I found having his undivided attention comforting, it was that I needed to be needed. My mum has always been the person looking after everybody else and when I insisted, well demanded, that she sat down and hold my hand whilst we drank our tea, it wasn’t that I wanted the attention. I wanted her to have a moment to just be herself without any demands. Chris came home tired and stressed and even though I was crying, being close to me was comforting.

Yesterday was yet another utterly useless and dreary day, but I got to do one nice thing, even if that did turn out to be crying in someone’s lap for an hour. Lucky me for having a husband that’s that easily pleased.

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