To be by the sea (A short, short story)

She had driven through the night to get to her favourite place. The seaside had always held a certain magic for her. Not the beaches of the Mediterranean or the strange English coastal towns that made her hum Morissey’s Everyday is like Sunday. Someone indeed had forgotten to bomb them down. No, she longed for the rough seaside of the far North of Scotland. No amusement arcades, no piers. No sweet rock or salty fish and chips. Normally, just a lone car park, a camper van here and there, out of season rarely anyone.

It had been a moment of madness, she thought now as she was driving on a single track road just after 5 am. It had been a Sunday afternoon and the thought of returning to work the next day had suddenly seemed so impossible. Like her personal Everest and she was not trained, not equipped and yes, not ready to climb it. At the same time, the thought of spending one more hour in her house seemed likewise impossible.

She had packed a small bag. A few changes of clothes. A raincoat. Scotland after all. Walking boots always in the car, as if she prepared to run through the countryside at a moment’s notice. Some snacks purchased from the petrol station. Crisps, chocolate, coke. The three Cs of any successful road trip. There was no Thelma to her Louise. No Clyde to her Bonnie.

Her SatNav indicated an arrival time at 5.30 am. Setting of from the petrol station at 6.30 in the evening, she travelled up the motorway, only stopping occassionally to use service station toilets, replenish the big Cs and once to refill the petrol tank. Now, she was the only car on a narrow single track road that she knew would lead to one of the best parts of the coast in Scotland.

She would have to call in sick. Checking her phone, she realised she had no reception. She should have sent a text when she was in the Inverness area. Was there phone reception in the village? Probably. She threw her phone onto the passenger seat, slightly annoyed with herself that she had not thought about calling in sick, that she was checking her phone while driving and then that she had thrown the phone so hard it ended up in the footwell. She never did things in the right order.

Now, that she was approaching her destination (ETA: 5:35 am), she felt unsure about her decision. A bit late to get qualms about her courage and her longing to be away from it all. It had started Friday night. For once, she had joined a gang from work for their usual Friday night dinner. There was a lot of teasing, that she was joining them. “Oh, Carol, are you now becoming social.” There was also a lot of teasing as the new colleague who had joined the team that Monday was going too. “Carol’s only coming out because Hank is joining us. Carol and Hank sitting in a tree…” It had continued like this all afternoon and Carol almost gave up on the idea on going for the curry, but she knew she had no choice. If she opted out now, the teasing would get worse. She often wondered if her workplace was the only one like that. The teasing, the familiarity where there should have been professional distance. No matter what walls she build around herself, they kept on coming at her. Breaking down any defensive structure she had erected. Making her blush and worse.

She was used to it. She had worked for this small marketing company for years. Office admin and general do-it-all. There were 10 of them including the boss, who was the worst of them all. Now 11 with Hank. They specialised in those glossy brochures, she always wondered if they were not just a waste of paper and no one actually looked at them. An expensive design exercise that allowed her boss to write huge invoices and pay all of their wages. They were proud of their output, it looked good and they wanted you to look at it and compliment them and tell them how well they had done. Like kindergarten kids. Nice colouring in, Steph. That kind of thing. She was not creative. And she was constantly reminded of it.

“Carol, as someone with no creative bone in your body, what do you feel when you look at this brochure.” She hated being put on the spot like that and in all the years, she had never gotten used to it. What she wanted to say was that she felt nothing at all looking at the brochure, other than maybe intense boredom. That their conversations about fonts, colours and paper weights and textures bored her to the point where she wanted to go home and pull the duvet over her head and sleep for three days. The self-importance of these trivial things was everything she felt to be wrong with the world. Instead she said: “It appeals to me.” Or “Very nice.” This usually did the trick and was welcomed with words like “See, it even works on Carol.” As if she was the great litmus test for all design elements.

On Friday morning, she had looked forward to the weekend. Like most employed people. Not that she had great plans, but she wanted to do some grocery shopping, read a book, maybe garden a bit if the weather was nice. Call her mother for the obligatory once a week phone call. Drink a cup of coffee without rush. Friday at the office was always a bit mad. Rushing to get things out to clients, who would not look at stuff until Monday, having meetings where anything that was decided was forgotten by Monday, the usual talk about weekend plans. She did not like most days at the office, but Friday was worst.

She could now not remember what made her agree to join them for the curry. She never went. She did not get asked, not anymore, but really not ever. But Hank had come over to her desk and asked her: “Will you come out for dinner tonight?” He had no idea that she was not part of the gang. She was not quite wearing the right clothes and saying the right things. Always standing at the edge of the party looking in. And really, she had no desire in spending any more time with the lot of them than she had to. But Hank was nice. He was polite. He had made her a coffee during the tea round, the others normally ignored her. When he saw her coming back from the shops with her arms full, he actually opened the door. Little gestures like that. It was nice. That’s why she agreed to go out.

They went to an Indian restaurant around the corner from the office where you could bring your own alcohol. She never drank so she ordered a juice. She wondered when they had added something to her juice. Or maybe it was in the meal. She had gone to the toilet, left her drink and when she came back her starter was on the table. They were all sniggering and she was so used to it, she did not even think about it for a moment.

She felt a hot flash of embarrassement travelling up her neck into her face. A glance in the mirror and she could see herself glow with the shame.

She had no idea what it was that they had given her. But from the moment her main course arrived she had no clear memory of the meal. Flashes popped into her head. Her talking a lot. Them laughing until they wept. Going to a club, Hank looking at her in a strange way. Her dancing on a table. She had come home without her blouse, just in her bra and a T-shirt not hers. Lots of photos were taken and put online. She looked at all of them on Saturday, they sent her links to her mobile phone. In one picture she was licking Ted’s face. She was appalled by this. So disgusting, but it must have been somewhere in her. Hidden and brought out by the drug. There must be a part of her that had wanted to lick Ted’s face and she did not quite know how she could go on with that feeling.

She was now in the small village. She parked the car and hunted for phone. She had just enough reception to send a message to her boss. At first she typed: “Not coming in today.” She then deleted the words and wrote: “I resign my position with immediate effect.” She knew she could. She had so much holiday left that her 4 weeks notice would be covered. And if not, she did not care anyway.

She got back into the driver’s side and drove the last few miles to the beach. The car park was empty. It was 6 am. The morning was bright, it would be sunny. She walked onto the path leading down to the beach. She felt like she was walking into another version of herself.

Friday night had ended with her asleep in the club on a sofa by herself. Just in her bra and her work trousers. She still had her handbag thank god, but all her colleagues had gone. Even Hank. They had just left her there. There were people laughing and pointing at her. She remembered only that she wanted to die in that moment. The effect of the drug was easing off, she was realising that she had no recollection of all the things she had done or were done to her. She was too weak to get up, so she just sat there. Minutes, hours later a girl approached her. She asked her if she was ok. No, she was not ok. She was a 42 years old, alone, working with a bunch of assholes and most definitely not ok. The girl gave her a T-shirt with the name of the club on, called her a taxi and sent her home. Kindness. Maybe. Probably just wanting to remove the embarrassing older woman.

The text messages and emails and tags on social media kept coming all Saturday and all Sunday. “Look at our Coral. Precious.” And each picture got likes and comments. “So funny.” “Ha, that old girl needed a bit of fun.”

For a moment, she thought that the anger and hurt and shame would take over her body, that she would not be able to walk, but then she looked up and saw the sandy length of the beach. The sea ferociously hitting it. Over and over again. It was like the sea could feel her anger and was angry for her. She sat down and did what she had come to do here for. What she traveled for all this way. She sat down and she wept.



No need to ask, just do

1be134f585694a1e922d7b285e58e17bYears ago, I did a course by the lovely Susannah called “Unravelling”. I loved that online course and I virtually met a bunch of people that I still count as my friends. One of the pieces of exploration we did lead to a discussion on how we all struggle to ask for help or other things we need and think others could give us.

Fast forward to today and I am not well and reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. Crying a whole bunch while reading it. Now before anyone says anything terrible about Amanda Palmer, I am not interested. Unless she robbed your silver cabinet, stole your boyfriend or set fire to your house, I really do not care. This whole hearsay stuff about famous people is really annoying. I enjoy her book.

I can spoil the whole point of this blog entry by saying that yes, in fact, at the age of nearly 44, I have not yet mastered the art of asking. I cannot ask for help to save my life. I care too much what people think of me when I ask. Like I am incapable of sorting my life out and hell, I really do want to look capable. And if I do ask, I am always certain I get rejected. In fact, there has been one crucial time in my life when I did ask and no one had time. Which is fair enough. I often don’t have time either. However, I also know that very often when I have asked for help I have gotten it. Maybe not in the way, I originally thought the help should be and maybe not exactly to the extent it was required, but yes, often the burden has been lightened.

However, what strikes me most about the book – and I have a hunch is the reason why I cried quite so much – is that Amanda Palmer just does what she thinks is the right thing to do not caring what people think about her. Or rather, she does care what people feedback to her, but she hears the voices of love louder than the voices of hate.

Heck, I cannot even bring myself to share this silly little blog with my Facebook friends. When I started doing booktube videos, I felt so self-concious that I told only 1 person in real life apart from my husband. I have been accused of oversharing on the internet. That I have too much time on my hand for being online so much. (“You got nothing better to do?”). The judging is well and truly alive but that’s not the problem, the problem is me taking it so fucking personal.

So reading this book is a bit of a nudge. It says: “Don’t listen to those that tell you, you should not do that.” “So what if mums at school would think you mental for being on booktube.” “So what if your first novel will suck like hell, but just go and finish it anyway.”

I am a believer that some books just enter your life at the point in time when you need to read them. And I shall heed the signs from the universe. Today, I am setting myself a writing schedule to finish the last few chapters of the book edit. And then I shall go and have it printed for my husband to read. And then we shall see. I already got the idea for another story, but I know I cannot go on until I finished this one.

The health issues are still there, more so today than on other days. Too much thyroid hormone in your blood and it wipes you out. That’s your fun fact for the day.


This week has seen holiday preparations and health scares. I am ok. Waiting results and determined to go on holiday and enjoy myself.

Today in 2001, my best friend died. I would not get the call until the next morning and right now 16 years ago, she was still alive, she would not die until late that night. I remember that moment when the call came, seeing her sister’s name flash on the display, 2 weeks before the sister’s wedding, 1 week before the hen do we had silently planned. I had spoken to her less than 24 hours before, telling her how much I hated the TV industry I was part of, how much I hated being in Cannes. She sent me a text before she got in the car. “Next week we will be partying, it will all be fine.”

Only it wasn’t. The call came early in the morning, woke me and as I saw the name, I immediately knew something bad had happened. I picked up the phone and the words hit me with such force. I howled and screamed and my friend who I was sharing the appartment with during the TV festival came rushing in and held me, just held me, while I sobbed and sobbed. He then re-booked my flight, called a friend of mine back home to meet me at the airport, took me to the airport in Nice, delivered me as far as he could. The pre-flight time was awful, so many people I knew at that airport, none I wanted to talk to. I knew the sunglasses could not hide my swollen face and the tears were still running freely.

The next few weeks were awful. Some “highlights” etched in my soul forever. Arranging funeral music. Funeral. So many friends gathered, crying. One of my oldest friends nearly passing out with grief.

We became friends on the S-Bahn. We went to school in the same town, shared friends and kinda knew each other. And one day, we sat opposite each other on the same train into the main city close by. Turned out, we both liked escaping our small provincial town for a bit. We were both from outlying villages and as teenagers, all we wanted was to be in the city. The train journey took half an hour, when we emerged from the train we were best friends. Or as she put: I decided that I liked you and wanted to be your friend but knew I would have to convince you first to be mine, too.

She knew me better than anyone. She knew all of it, too. We were as different as two people can be. She liked Disney films, make-up, shrill clothes, musicals, listened to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston on end. I liked books, The Smiths and The Cure, dark clothing. It did not matter, turns out that these superficial things don’t count for anything.

I once read that when someone close to you dies that a part of you dies with them. I never understood what that meant until it happened to me. She is no longer there to fill in the parts of the stories that I cannot remember, she is no longer there to remind me of the stupid things I did, tell me off when I give up on myself, cheerlead me on when I need it. There is no silent conversation. No dissolving into laughter because you look at something and it reminds you of something else and you both know it and it is so funny to the two of you that you just laugh until you cry. No voicemails that are delivered in sung form, mainly songs from Disney movies. No text messages. No more shared pizzas. No more calls in the middle of the night: I am stranded here, please rescue me. No more me calling her: I cannot cope with life right now.

I still know her phone number of by heart. So many times over the last 16 years have I wanted to call her. How she would have loved my daughter. How she would have been dismayed that my kid is not a Disney Princess kind of girl. She would have adapted though and learned how to play Minecraft. Every new Disney movie that comes out breaks my heart a little because she will never see it. When Whitney Houston died I was glad she did not get to see this because the downfall and decay of her hero, it would have broken her heart.

I know what she would say reading this post. “Ok, that’s enough wallowing now, I get it you miss me, I miss you too, but this is what it is. Put the coffee on and I will be there with you in spirit.” She really loved coffee. So do I.

Miss you my friend, you of generous spirit, joyful soul, thinker of deep thoughts, that no one thought you had, adventurous spirit and believer in possibilities.

She is too fond of books…

it has turned her brain. Louisa M. Alcott wrote that in one of her novels (and no, it’s not from Little Women)

This story gave me nightmares. For years.

When I was little and before I went to school at the age of 6, I was the owner of a grand total of 2 picture books that a neighbour had given me. One was the Struwwelliese and the other was Struwwelpeter, so yes there was a theme. I hated the Struwwelpeter with a passion, I hid the book in the wardrobe because it terrified me. I cannot remember that, but my grandmother told me this when I was older. The Struwwelliese was the book of choice and it was read to me every night. I knew it off by heart and I can still remember it so well. Liese is called Struwwelliese because she is always unkempt, her stockings full of holes, lazy and prefers to sleep rather than be a good German girl with her hair neatly done, but then something happens that reforms her and she becomes a good girl. Despite the title suggesting that the books are from the same era, they are not. The Struwwelpeter is a series of morality tales for children from the mid-19th century that features 10 terrifying stories (the one with the matches gave me nightmares), the book was incredible popular. Mark Twain even translated it from German. Struwwelliese is the equivalent for girls, but only featuring one story (proving that girls are quick on the uptake), telling us to be more feminine and good girls by doing our chores and smile and all that. It was published in the 1950ies because after the war and all the hardships, girls had to be taught how to be proper girls again.


Look Liese, the neat girl has a boyfriend!!! 

My grandmother told me much later when I asked her about it, that she had started to hate the book simply because of the repetition. I knew every word in the book and expected every word to be delivered just so, so after a while my grandmother refused to read the book, so I read it to myself over and over again.

Thankfully, I went to kindergarten and my lovely kindergarten teacher Tante Barbara read us stories every day and there were books to look at. Apparently, that’s what I did at kindergarten: Sit in the book corner or run around outside.

At 6, we start school in Germany and naturally, we are immediately taught to read. Now, you’d think that considering how much of a reader I am these days, that reading came easy to me. Far from it. It was not easy for me. My grandmother quickly got frustrated with me not being able to sound out even the simplest words, that she whacked the book over my head and hey presto I could read. This story was proudly recounted for decades to everyone. I am not so certain if the pain from the book on my head sorted my brain cells out or if it simply increased my adrenaline response (fear is a powerful teacher), well I let you be the judge of that.

At the end of the school year, we were taken to our village library which was housed in the village administrative center, an ugly concrete block, but a section was dedicated to books. We all got our library cards, were given a sheet with the opening times (Monday afternoons and Friday afternoons, the Wednesday morning session was no good to me). By then I was able to read perfectly, I read everything. My grandmother’s Heimatromane (sentimental stories mostly set in rural areas, all very predictable, there is a more literary section too, as e.g. Heidi would fall into that category, but my grandmother’s ones were all about hunters and women who tried to be pious but were dreadfully close to fall for the wrong guy) came under scrutiny, I read labels, the BILD Zeitung (which was the only newspaper that ever entered our house), the church pamphlet and recipes, which were on the back of almost any ingredient you bought in the 1970ies.

Needless to say, that I embraced the library with all my heart. I borrowed 5 books on a Monday and returned them on the Friday and took 5 books out for the weekend. I read every moment I could and my grandmother got increasingly annoyed at my reading. “You don’t hear anything when you read, I can call for you and call for you, it’s like you are gone.” Yes, I was, I was gone to hang out with my book friends.

There was the incident when I was excitedly telling stories about Lisa, Bosse, Lasse, Britta and Inga and sweets that could stick your mouth shut. My grandmother thought that these were real people that she did not know (we lived in a small village, so how she ever could think that is a mystery) and she was worried that I was starting to lose grip on reality although she described it differently. She tried to limit my reading time, but it did thankfully not last long and then it was just scathing remarks about me reading all the time.

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Lisa, Bosse, Lasse, Britta and Inga 

The local librarian was brilliant, she realised quickly how much I loved the books and she suggested which ones to read next, brought books back from the main library for me and over the summer break she let me borrow a lot more books than was allowed.

I “blame” reading for everything that is good in my life. It saved me in my darkest hours, it gave me an escape from a reality, it enabled me to go to Gymnasium and to this day, books are always a part of my life.

I still like to use the library as much as I can. I still like to talk about the characters in the books I read. Books continue to turn my brain. In a good way. A very good way.



Political anxiety

It’s not a term or even a recognised illness, but I have self-diagnosed myself with just that. Since the campaign for Brexit, I have lived with a constant anxiety over what will happen next and “surely, they cannot do that?” – only to find out that every single time they did and they will and they do it over and over again.

Like so many, I feel swept away by all the things a certain president in a certain large country has been doing. I even went to a protest, which considering the levels of anxiety and panic I feel, is quite something, I still don’t believe I did that. But this post is not about me.

It’s about us. You and me, and that guy over there and see that woman there at the corner. It’s all about all of us. If like me you are a fixer at heart, you probably been thinking a lot on “how can we fix this shit”. I want to say, that I hear you, but like the lovely Sas Petherick would say: “You are going into solution mode, let’s just acknowledge the problem first.”

I think the whole “wanting to fix shit” was getting us into this mess in the first place. We look at a situation and see there is a problem and we want to fix it, we come up with a solution, implement it and expect it to work and are flummoxed when it just throws up a whole host of new problems. And heck, isn’t this just so frustrating?! Right, it is, we all feel it.

Take Foodbanks for example. Now don’t get me wrong, they are necessary to fix a problem, i.e. that we live in a country where people are victimised for needing financial assistance by the government either short-term/long-term. We all might find ourselves in that situation as the film “I Daniel Blake” illustrates so shockingly. So the government cuts spending on benefits and makes the whole process harder and more unfair and this results in people not getting any money, often for months. So, Churches come together and set up Foodbanks. Here, we are fixing a problem. Of course, it is important they are there, because without it people would actually have nothing to eat at all. Yet, with this we are not fixing the issue that a lot of people no longer think that anyone deserves “a handout”. And in turn, a lot of people think that those that are using Foodbanks are cheaters, that they are lazy and a whole host of other things. At the end of the 1980ies, nearly 2/3 of the population believed that benefits, allowances and general government spending on welfare should increase to help more people. This has now dropped to less than a quarter. From over 66% to less than 25%. And here is my thought of the day: if we cannot change that, nothing can be fixed with regards to these problems.

This is just one of the problems we are facing, but I think the overall trend is clear: As humans we have just gotten a lot less kind. We think mainly of ourselves, what can I get, how can I get X quicker. We are told that we should live the best life possible and if we don’t then we are losers. It’s evident in small things you and I witness every day. And yes my post from November about parking may be a bit tongue in cheek, but there is a lot of truth in that: If you can’t be bothered to be kind in the small things, then you won’t be bothered in the big things either.

Don’t expect any answers here, because I really just want to sit with the problem today and get “comfortable” in acknowledging its wider implications. We are just so unkind. Unkind to ourselves by holding us up to ideals and notions that we are shown in the media of things we should achieve. And unkind to others, by judging them on their behaviour. Trust me, becoming a mother has opened my eyes to that, so much judgement just around how you feed your baby when all that really matters is that you feed that small bundle. And yes, breast may be best, but do you really feel ok for shaming millions of mothers for making a different choice when often it is not a choice. And even if it is a choice, what the hell does one mother know about another?

Or how if you are white you will have thought “I am not a racist” when clearly most of us are, including me.

Or how it can seem like such a bother to learn the ever changing terms around people’s sexuality. It’s hard and uncomfortable and often I don’t know what to say and boy have I said stupid stuff in the past.

All these things are signs of unkindness that is absolutely everywhere.

I am not quite sure where I am going with this, but really, I just want to sit with the problem for a while. I have no ready made solutions, my days in trying to fix this planet are over, I shall protest against the injustices I see, but I shall be more careful with trying to find solutions. True solutions can only happen if you understand the problem from all sides not just from your own perspective: And I am just not there yet.



How to change the world by parking like a sane person

I have odd thoughts on the school run at times: I might think about what to make for dinner or I maybe contemplate a future where I walk down a different road than this one.

Today, I thought about how much better the world would be if people parked as if they actually cared about others. And then I thought: Wow, this may actually work.

You see ever since that election there in that USA, I have been contemplating on how to change the world, and how we probably won’t because “activism” is kind of a scary concept for many of us. It’s huge and overwhelming and “OMG where do I even begin”. Activism can also be very judgey because you may not activist enough for some who have been activists for years (I’ll tell you that joining a political party in 2015 opened my eyes in ways I did not expect). So many of us, including myself, don’t get involved.

But here is something that everyone can do and if more of us did it, the world would change beyond recognition: You can try to be the nicest version of yourself and give a thought of how you can improve the world around you just a little.

And parking is such a thing. Parking on double yellows just because you quickly need to dash into the chemist to get something. Parking as close as possible to school because you are late and heck, so what if the car is on corner, surely the parent with their pushchair find another place to cross the road. Using the parent and child spot despite the fact that your child is closer to university age than toddler years because heck, you are tired and you want to be close to the shop.

All these are signs of our collective “I don’t give a damn about others” attitude. Let’s get the parking under control and take it from there. Once you park like you actually care about your fellow humans, you may take your trolley back to where you found it. You may choose to bring your own bags to the supermarket. You may actually start to recycle or recycle more. Maybe you don’t even buy the trash in the first place.

I think parking within the law might be the start of the slow revolution. Let’s all do it and see where it takes us.

I guess what I am trying to say: Be kind to folks and creatures. That’s where it starts.

Thoughts and words

The US presidential elections are over and like so many of the people I know it felt like a stab in the back. It’s not that I had not seen it coming, after all my husband for one was like the Oracle of Delphi once more (I wish he predicted lottery numbers with equal accuracy) and said for months, that Trump would win. I guess I am a “hoper” (I know this is not a word, but I don’t care) and so I hoped that it would not be Trump. In fact when the stories came out about his sexual assault on women, I thought, that this would surely do it, because after all, we are all decent people who would not have someone like that in charge of the most powerful country in the world. Surely not, right? Oh Melanie, you have learnt nothing.

I feel at the moment as if I am stumbling through my days discovering all the things I don’t know. I don’t know how to politically engage anyone. I don’t know the right words to express how I feel and I don’t know how to go beyond the fear of meaning well but saying it wrong. I don’t know how to make a change and how to be involved in things that make a difference. I don’t know what a first step would be and how to take that step and then the next one. I don’t know who to take these steps with. Alone, forcing myself along by sheer willpower, all the way fearing that it is just not enough? I don’t know what to do with my anger at the political establishment, my anger with those that resort to conspiracy theories to explain the world, the anger with those that patronise me and my views, my anger that as a woman in 2016, I am still scared to walk any distance when it’s dark. All of these and more. And the only thing I know for certain is that I know nothing anymore.

And the thing is that when you know nothing, it’s so hard to find the words. The words that would do justice to the way I am feeling. The words that could explain all the million things that go on in my head. The words that could give comfort not just to myself but to someone else too. The words that would not be wrong because being on the left end of the political spectrum sadly often means that your harshest critics are your “comrades” who will shout you down for using a wrong phrase. The truth is that I no longer have anything to say. It’s as simple as that. It’s comforting and scary at the same time. Comforting because when we take the words away the silence can seem so blissful, finally everything has gone quiet. Shshhh. Yet it’s scary because if people like me no longer say anything where will it go and who will be the people that fill the silence.

And then, suddenly, a revolutionary thought occurred to me: I don’t want to be part of the fury anymore. Fury achieves nothing. I may the only person who feels that way, but I know that when I am angry, I don’t achieve anything. I am just angry. Quite often when I am angry at the world, I don’t even manage to make myself a decent lunch. Yes, I have opinions and reactions to events that happen all over the world, but I shall try and no longer trust my opinions and reactions, ignore the lurch in my stomach and simply sit with it for a moment and try not to get angry. or even furious. Who knows, maybe this will lead to knowing things again. I might even find some words to talk about things again. I shall report back.