I went to the leisure centre pool again today, swam up and down while at one end of the pool an intensely toned woman was calling instructions to the aqua-aerobic people. There was some kind of disco-bop music in the background but my inner DJ was singing something about swimming, swimming for my life, same tune as the (we are singing, singing for our lives) Greenham Common women once sang. The pool is longer than I've been used to, too deep to stop in the middle and rest. I did my fifteen minutes, with breaks. Afterwards I went to the sports shop in town and got myself a new Speedo swimsuit, blue and neat, compared to my disintegrating black one from BHS which has served its time. The chlorine gets them in the end - gets me too. But there is much less of it in the leisure centre than in the country club pool. Afterwards, in the intense heat, I thought the Signsmobile looked particularly tired and dusty so took it for an auto-wash at the garage nearby and sat eating my tuna salad sandwich while water jets and brushes went to work on the outside.
Slept for three hours in the afternoon and dreamed of Shrink. Funny thing - his practice is just around the corner from Brighton flat. Perhaps not so strange, seeing as there is a nice cafe nearby where I used to go and I found it wandering into a nearby estate agents, post-latte, after one of our sessions. I dreamed that I saw him walking along the road. He wore his black-rimmed spectacles and stooped forwards as though leaning against the wind. He took some time to remember who I was and I sensed he was losing the plot, a bit down at heel, his Shrink practice not doing so well. He remembered that I wrote poems and asked if I had found a publisher.
Actually, that was the last thing he said to me: goodbye, I hope you find a publisher. In the end, that was what mattered to him, what he always came back to: writing is your life-blood. The wordsmith in me cringed. It isn't something I would ever say about myself - that writing was my life-blood, certainly not out loud. Ah, he only loved me for my talent. You only love me for my talent, you don't love me for my problems and disorders. I don't remember what the dream-Shrink said - probably nothing.
You are a ball of courage, he said to me. Why did that sit uneasily? Because I know that I am courageous. But I am not a ball of it. I am made of pliable stuff.
I am again reconfiguring, re-imagining, feeling my way into what is really important, and actually it isn't particularly the writing (which I'll always be doing) or the achieving of anything in particular. Just the living, the seasons and how they turn, the pizza we had for supper in the village tonight, capers, anchovies, olives, us eavesdropping on the next table. Life and stuff.
Tomorrow I am going to Brighton to spend time with the Daughter. I hope very much to go into the sea. I have a special pair of sea-shoes. I may be gone some time.