I leave the clinic and head home. I resist the urge to pull my headphones out of my coat pocket. Instead, I look at my surroundings, the sky dark above me, street lights illuminating my path.
The mantra to live day to day anchored itself in my brain, refusing to entertain the thought of being made furloughed again, of Trump winning the presidency in the USA, of the utter certainty of not seeing my family for Christmas. But all those thoughts lingered in the background, sending me crashing down on Tuesday. My anxiety took hold of me, my body rattled by fear, my brain trapped by an overwhelming onslaught of emotions.
Tears well up in my eyes. I am unsure if it is the tension being released, the sadness of another lockdown, how much I am dreading being made furloughed, the sudden certainty that I will not be able to visit my family in France for another few months, the paralysing fear of my own vulnerability. Or all of it at once.
The cycle path runs out and I am cycling on a four lane A-road without the makeshift protection of white lines on the road. I feel like I am trespassing a space I have no right to be in. On all sides, cars and lorries hurtle past, mildly annoyed when my presence slows them down. Ahead, I can see the cycle path reappear on the pavement but it is not obvious how I can get to it. Traffic is too fast for me to stop and climb on the pavement. I hope there is a recess or I will be stuck on the ring road for far too long.
I wonder what could have made her so emotional, memories of childhood, teases and failures echoing in her mind? She had been so eager and joyful when she had arrived. But I know, this means very little. I had been happy the day before when my anxiety had bubbled inside of me.
A waft of rubber and bicycle grease hits me as I step into the container. I am nearly thrown back from the smell, at once familiar and foreign. I close my eyes and inhale deeply. Am I really going to be working here?
We stand awkwardly for a moment, unable to go past our instinct to shake hands until M. makes a joke about it.
The suburbs considered collectively, typically treated as if a distinct community or country with its own characteristic traits, mores, or way of life, esp. (depreciatively) characterized by a dull ordinariness and monotonous conformity; the inhabitants of the suburbs, or their way of life.
My breath catches in my throat, trapped within my lungs. I look back at the fox, their ginger fur set alight. We stare at one another us, neither of us moving. In the quiet of the morning, neither of us expected the other’s presence. Footsteps muffled by the mist, echoes trapped in the air, we have both believed this place to be ours and ours alone.
A car caught the sinking sunlight, the reflected glint blinding me. White spots flickered behind my closed eyelids. When I opened them again, their was one more balloon over the shopping centre, its figure small and distant.