So today is Sunday, you know, the day of rest? Except it never is anymore, is it? I’m pretty good at avoiding all the unnecessary ties we bind ourselves with (kids football matches in the rain, dull family lunches, insane shopping trips to IKEA) but even I find myself rushing around, with barely a moment to sit down. Every week I look at my growing ‘to-read’ pile and think, ‘I’ll look at those on Sunday’ and then suddenly it’s 9pm on Sunday night and they haven’t even been opened.
Often I feel that I just need to stop. But I rarely do.
Today we had tickets to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Although I’d heard good things about this film, I wasn’t champing at the bit to see it. And after a miserable, freezing dog walk, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to. For the price of an unused movie ticket, I could send the boys (who were very keen to go) and stay at home in peace and quiet for three hours.
I haven’t been alone in my house since 30th December. For someone who is very used to solitude, in fact needs it in order to regain a sense of equilibrium, the lack of it has been a grind. Perhaps even the cause of the low level nagging headache I have all the time. So the thought of an afternoon to myself was deeply alluring.
But I had to navigate the boys. We do cinema trips together. AS A FAMILY. That’s what they say to me. Except we don’t. The husband wouldn’t have been caught dead watching The Greatest Showman. And the Boy, in rebellious fashion, is disdainful of the superhero movies that are supposedly made just for him, so refused to watch Wonder Woman. In fact, I go to the cinema on my own a fair bit, because there are films that no-one will watch with me (admittedly they were probably right when it came to Geostorm).
Yet this doesn’t seem to work the other way around. When I don’t want to go somewhere, it’s examined in minute detail and they both look at me with big disapproving puppy eyes. I have to stand my ground, feeling like an utterly selfish cad and soaked in maternal guilt, trying to not give a fuck (see previous post…)
Today, I came home with a sodden Mabel and said “I’m really sorry, but I’m tired, hormonal, freezing and have a growing headache. I really would prefer to stay at home.”
They looked at me with the eyes…
I stood my ground.
I went to lay on the bed.
The Husband turned up with some super strength painkillers he gets from his consultant and a cup of tea.
I took them, lay down and closed my eyes.
The Boy turned up with a glass of water and a banana.
“The water is to re-hydrate you and the potassium in the banana helps to reduce the inflammation that causes headaches,” he said. “There’s an hour before we need to leave for the film. It should work in time…”
He gave me a cuddle and of course, I melted. I got up, had a bath, smeared on some lipstick and went to the cinema.
I swear I saw them wink at each other.
I know I’ve been played. But as I added nothing practical to the outing, I guess it was really just my company they wanted. How could I be churlish in the face of such affection? In the end, the film wasn’t bad and neither was the giant ice cream I insisted on.
And maybe one day there won’t be anyone to go to the cinema with. Possibly the house will always be empty. So perhaps storing up days like these in the memory bank is a good thing.
Next Sunday though…
(In fact, next Sunday will be just as busy … no rest for the person going to the Faversham literary festival to see their newest favourite author, Carol Donaldson.)