I should pack. It's time to go back.
I mean, what do you say, really?
Six days, six nights, most of them spent in reverse order, awake when I shouldn't be, asleep when I shouldn't be. It was the ultimate kind of escape, geographically, emotionally, mentally. Most of the time, I was in a more vulnerable state of mind than I usually allow or enjoy, but you know, sometimes, it's just bloody easier that way, dammit.
Do you know, most of the time, I would sit and marvel at the fact that though I knew it to be true, my brain simply wasn't computing that Frankie is dead. I don't know how else to explain it, except that this past week, I didn't bother to argue with my brain too much. If it wanted to believe that Frankie was waiting at home for me, then I was going to let it. There were, inevitably, a couple of bad moments when the truth broke through, but that's what the arms of others are for. Thank God for the arms of others.
Ostensibly, I hit London to attend my company Christmas party, and to renegotiate my salary with my boss. The smartest thing I ever did was arrange that meeting for the first day I was there, while I still had all my faculties intact. Frankly, I don't know who took over my body in that giant corner office that first afternoon, because it certainly wasn't the Mare you all know and love, poppets. I mean, I was strong-willed, I was articulate, I was confident and hard as nails. I calmly listed all the reasons why I deserved a significant raise in salary, and I didn't betray even once that my stomach was about to stage a musical revolt in three acts. We haggled - actually tossed numbers back and forth! - until we finally settled at more than what I'd privately marked as my bargaining floor.
Honestly, poppets, it could have gone the other way, because the first thing Mr. Boss Man did was offer his condolences and start asking questions about what happened to Frankie. I should have expected it, of course. It broke me a little, to be honest, but I held it together to the end, and I don't think he suspected a thing. It's always hard, you see, when you get condolences from somebody new.
It seems that getting that raise was the last bit of reasonable behaviour I indulged in because, poppets, after that, I let it all go to seed. Dear God, I'm 31. I'm too old to fall asleep after sunrise! Granted, I hold the appropriate ratio of shame to pride at being able to holiday quite so senselessly at my advanced age, so I've still got some brain cells left.
I surrounded myself with new friends and old who, thankfully, got on famously. I say thankfully, because frankly, my beauties, there were times when I was just more concerned with keeping my glass upright than keeping up with conversation. (Concerned is the operative word there, of course. Successful would not be the word to use, but you can't fault my level of concern.) It was lovely though, having some of my worlds collide without any friction. It's funny how much something as silly as meeting strangers, and strangers meeting, would have terrified me before. Nothing is quite as terrifying as it used to be, not anymore.
You know this is going to come out slowly. You know I can't ever just give you a chronological listing of events with appropriate adjectives and squee. You know that at some point a month from now, some memory of the last week will make me smile and I'll have to tell you about it, in a complete non-sequiteur of an entry.
Right now, I can only hand you this, baldly and without grace: I ate, I drank, I danced. I lost four and a half marvellous pounds. I put on red stilettos and shimmied with people I know professionally, but only through phone and email. I flirted and danced with Irish boys and French boys, completely charmed by their accents. I hung out in tiny patisseries with a beautiful girl who becomes dearer to me every day. I laughed wickedly and spoke Italian with a gorgeous boy who speaks 8 languages and always knows the right thing to say in all of them. I conceded defeat in the struggle for understanding, and just took raw pleasure and happiness whenever it was handed to me.
They say you always revert to your original behaviour in all of your relationships, and I suppose my relationship with London and the people in it will always be about growth and discovery. And pleasure. Growth, discovery and unadulterated pleasure.
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