The experiment goes on. Swimming. Life. The signs are not auspicious. One was obviously prepared for this. But I am not prepared for this: a longing to keep moving through water, to feel and see my limbs afresh, be alive to the flow of energy that waits like some ardent lover, all the years notwithstanding, to be with me again and take possession. These stolen moments, I pay for them, the exercise makes me worse, the hot spots in my limbs and torso are livid, I step up the painkillers, wake in the night to a whooshing sound, the blood sounding in my ears. Lately I have dreamed of vampires, they offer me blood rather than taking it from me, it is thick and glutinous, I turn my head away.
I wonder if it is possible to have M.E. for twenty three years and not allow oneself to grieve. It is possible because one lives for a long time with the idea that it will get better, and then one lives for a long time saying that one has come to terms, found a path, a way to float above the situation, to wing it, of pretending (even to oneself) that the hours, months, years of looking at light filtering through wooden slats don't matter, because life is there, waiting for you still, and all manner of things will be well.
Sometimes you catch sight of it, the other life, the one that moves invisibly alongside, hiding behind corners and slipping away the moment you turn your head, but keeping close to you. Sometimes you bump right into it, apologise and move on, as though you had nothing at all to do with each other. Regret beyond compare.