Four years ago, I went for a walk along a beach. I didn’t know if I’d be coming back. I didn’t want to.
You don’t really get clear beginnings and endings. It’s like the tide coming in, a series of waves gradually coming closer, until your toes sink into damper, darker sand and the cold water bubbles over your ankles. It’s hard to know when things are. Over.
I look back now and I know things are changing. Finally, work. Finally, hope. Family. All the things that seemed impossible, because they were then. Now they’re here and so am I. Nothing and everything has changed. You become aware of the passing of time, the process of ageing; a tooth crumbles and print becomes imperceptibly harder to read. Any moment could be the start of a decline. It could be today that pain arrives and doesn’t leave. But even that is evidence that change can happen. And you’re part of it.
If you can get through an hour you can get through a day. One sleep at the end of the day and you can get through a day. One leads to another. Sometimes you just have to exist a bit and let time pass around you. It’s not as easy to do as that. But I found I could.
I know the thinking nowadays is to live in the moment, an endless present tense, but that doesn’t work for me. Today is held down by threads of yesterday, lifted up on the hopes of the next day, another day. You carry scars and memories. Some things change and some don’t. Some can and some won’t. But you can try.