I shuffle half asleep, desperately trying to get comfortable. My mind wanders, playing with her words, creating alternative realities out of my control. I know I’m half conscious, but I welcome the lucid dreaming. I fell in love in this city.
He was pleasant this morning, as was I. I feel no hatred, only sympathy. I spent so long crying, hating, worrying. I wasted so much precious time I could have been thriving with. I yearn for peace. Our short simple conversation felt like none of this was really happening, like two opposing worlds.
I’ve missed this city, it feels wrong travelling here under these circumstances, turning my relationship with these winding roads into somewhat bitter sweet. I have incredible and terrible memories from every corner of this place. We pass familiar locations and I reminisce prompted by my visions. I keep my mouth shut unsure of what to think or say. Stay dumb, stay dumb and get this over with. I ignore her remarks on the situation, she’s trying to help but I’m determined to be as clever and as strong as possible. I will not be hateful, enraged or stressed. I will not put my body or mind through that, but what I will do is be fire. Fierce, bright, beautiful and not to be fucked with.
I fell out of love a very long time ago, but not with this city. The individual is not what this is about, it’s the place. Ghostly memories I can almost see replaying before my eyes, a world away. I’ll always feel a strong connection with its cobbled hills, quirky bars and endless corners. It was my second home, an enormous part of my life that cannot be erased.
We took time to enjoy the city last night. I needed to love her and for one evening not deal with the conflict this situation has brought. I felt so happy, temporarily ignoring the reasons we’re here. I salsa danced with a gentleman called Fabio, drank fine wine in Frankenstein’s bar and enjoyed the sports parties. I knew the next morning would be terrifying, serious and completely out of my comfort zone, so for that time I needed to thrive.
The next morning we went for breakfast. I wore my only blazer and flowing galaxy dress. The same dress I wore to Colleen’s wedding four years ago. Pinning my dreads back and removing my jewellery, I was stripped bare.
Nobody smiles in these places. It’s terrifyingly professional and a clever business game more than promoting justice. For a woman of twenty-two, I have been privileged and somewhat damned to have experienced the extent of some of the things I have. This was a real kick in the teeth, so it’s a good job I’m a force of nature at the moment, especially with my incredible parents support.
Yet I still struggle to remind myself of that when I stand to greet Maam. My knees buckle and thighs shake, I slow my breathing and give myself a mental talking to – this is no time for panic attacks, you are not welcome here.
I’m running out of time, we all are. So why have I spent an eternity hating myself for my mistakes or blaming myself for the foolish actions of others? I have promised myself I won’t waste any more time. I have not been this well and level headed for at least five years. I’m free.
It’s been such a wonderful trip despite the reason we are here. A mindful car journey watching the beautifully formed Scottish hills as I’m curled on the backseat. Reading, writing, wondering… In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing but I had time to myself. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel room, had a spectacular Italian dinner and danced with strangers.
We wander the streets and I find a tucked up gem of a vintage shop. I buy Noah the most beautiful toddler tweed jacket and we stop for celebratory vanilla cheesecake and freshly squeezed orange juice in the cafe where JK Rowling supposedly wrote Harry Potter. It overlooks Edinburgh castle, balancing itself proudly on such huge rocks. The castle on the hill. A refreshing start to the week and I’m so lucky.
I’ve done a lot of things wrong in my life, a lot I’m not proud of. I wish I’d have helped more, been a better daughter, a more considerate friend, less of a selfish Mother at times. Nobody is perfect and I appreciate my world now, I’m level headed and I can feel myself blossoming. My freedom highs are getting longer, more natural and my skin is glowing today. I feel invincible.
Mother, Daughter, Fighter.