So it's Christmas night and it's late and I can't sleep. "You won't sleep!" she told me at around 7 this evening, as I chased my third coffee of the day with my 2nd coke of the day. I generally operate under a no caffeine after 4 pm rule, but fuck it it's Christmas and I'm the one who'll be driving back from Naas, where we've spent the day with her family. We take it in turns to spend Christmas with our families, since we married. I've never minded. I need the coffee because I didn't sleep well the night before either. It was the throat infection keeping me awake, the one that everyone has right now. That, and the needing counselling. I know I need counselling because I found myself really looking forward to appointments with my physiotherapist and hairdresser the other week. I don't spill my guts with them or anything, but I know that I can simply say "I'm tired because I'm not sleeping well because I'm stressed," and they'll make sympathetic noises and tell me stories that'll make me laugh. Do counsellors do that? I've never been to one, except twice. The pre-marriage counsellor was great. "Do you counsel married people?" I ask at the end of the session, presumably feeling it was inevitable I'd make a balls of things at some stage. Then there was the, I dunno, grief counsellor we went to together to talk about not being able to have a baby. We justified that 80 euro through Kleenex alone, Jesus. I was incapable of speaking for about two hours beforehand, because I knew what she'd ask, and how much I didn't want her to ask it. And we sobbed, and I suppose it was cathartic.
Running is cathartic, too, but the marathon's over for now, and it turns out it doesn't fix everything. What was maybe meant to be this act of redemption or renewal felt like working in Supervalu of a Saturday morning with a massive hangover when I was 19. Grim and fucking unrelenting, like. An unfathomably long and stupid thing to be doing. My friend Y said she never saw such despair as she saw in my eyes when I stopped for a hug in Terenure, hoping she and her husband might invite me back to theirs for tea and Countdown and another nap on their couch. Y finds the day to day ughness of it all as disagreeable as I do. "NO IS TO CAN! NO IS TO WANT!" we groan at each other in silly accents most mornings, in a tribute to the way our students speak, though they never really speak like that because we are good at our jobs. Y gets needy South Americans coming to her, asking how to know if the Irish guy they're seeing is now their boyfriend or not. I get Arabic students asking what this letter they got from Irish Water means. I get provoked. I get discouraged. I get turned on. I get angry. I get soppy. I get inspired. I get thinner. I get shin splints. I get sloppy. I get tired.