I open a new document and prepare to write. My hands are poised over the keyboard ready to digitally reveal my innermost turmoil.
My screen remains blank.
My head is empty. No, not empty. Clear. Organised, stacked and catalogued thoughts.
I sit and stare at the blank screen. There must be something; some barb to pull, some itch to scratch, some cuticle of anxiety to pick. But I’ve got nothing.
Fuck me, this is what it feels like to be the contented emoji. You know the one: soft smile, closed eyes, like a breath out. A sweet clear exhalation. A happy little vegemite as they say.
So, I guess you could say shit’s going well.
I’m in my new house and yes, I have no storage for the six million towels I seem to have, there’s a sinky bit in the floorboards and a downpipe fell off in the hectic wind we’ve been having, but it’s all OK.
It’s full of period features and art deco ceilings, cathedral glass doors and rusted on turn bells but I love it.
And my lover, my boyfriend, still here, still in love, still good. I have my moments when my anxiety barges in and pushes me to say and do annoying shitty things. But he tells me to stop, makes me see what I’m doing and tells me we’re good.
We binge watch Jurassic Park before date nights, and drink beers in the winter sun. He changes my bathroom fittings, rewires my power points and replaces my door hardware while I buy art and rugs and cushions and tell him to trust my design decisions.
I slow cook pork belly while he works on his boat and we drink wine at the kitchen bench while we plan long weekends away. I tell him about my upcoming work trip to Europe and he tells me about the diving training he’s booked in Bali.
I make him coffee while he sleeps in, his hand resting on the head of my dog. We still get a kick out of the built-in ice maker in my new fridge and buy ingredients for espresso martinis while deciding what to have for dinner.
We throw the ball for his dog and shoo him off the ottoman while chatting with his mum. It’s good. It’s really good. And the sex … well, it’s like sailing a boat through a summer storm.
I’ve also rediscovered being on my own. Although it felt like I was for so much of the past few years it was a different kind of alone. This is the alone you choose, when you can be with someone but you choose not to. We both need that, but it took me a while to remember how important it was.
I think Covid fucked up my sense of self – everything became too regimented, controlled, planned, scheduled, sign-in, sign out which was wholly at odds with how I liked to live. It was easier to just not.
But now it’s all last minute trivia at the pub, fancy dinners out with my sisters, Sunday sessions with mates, trips to the day spa, breakfast for one on a weekday – they’re all back baby.