Sunday, 14 August 2016

I have the clouds in my head

They said I had my head in the clouds. But now, instead, I have the clouds in my head. They move in for hours or days at a time. Not the fluffy white, light as a feather, candy floss clouds, but a thick grey-white covering: smothering, suffocating, separating me from the rest of the world, blocking out the sun.

On days like this, life is a distant planet seen from the air, a world covered in tracing paper. I can just about make out the edges of things. Everything is hazy, muffled by the noise of sadness, the clouds of absence, the fog of grief.

Like the moment, last night, when we pushed headfirst into cloud covering somewhere over France and everything retreated, pressure blocking our ears so that the only sounds were our own thoughts and all we could see was white. Neither the world below nor the blue sky above, just the blank bank of cloud, bearing down on us, suspended in a no-man's land of white nothingness, the fullness of emptiness blocking out the view.

My thoughts are all of you. Nothing else makes any sense. It is like I have crossed the channel and other people are speaking a different language that I no longer comprehend. Only the others in this Afterland understand how all-consuming it is to live with the clouds of the dead in your head. How exhausting it is to be looking all day through the mist of time, replaying conversations, retracing steps, wondering how one minute you were there and the next you'd gone, trying to figure out where you are now and how and what and why.

I stare at the sky, searching for you, looking for the blue between the clouds. And sometimes you are there and sometimes things sharpen and the clouds clear and I can hear for a while the song of birds, the hum of the traffic, the rhythm of the every day. At times like this I sit in the sun and marvel at how far I have come. Sometimes I even think I have done.  And then suddenly, without warning, the sun is gone, everything is muffled and the clouds roll back in. All is distant except this pain. There is only relief when it rains.