I drove past the Sheaf View today. It wasn’t an easy thing to do as it had always been my habit to call in after I’d finished my tutoring session at HDT. It made me feel part of the local community- something that had become quite dear to me and an aspect of living and working in the area which was just as satisfying as the job itself. The bar staff greeted me with a brief cock of the head as I walked in – an almost imperceptible sign of recognition, but it made me feel like I belonged. I felt comfortable and settled here. Most of all, settled. But of course I always had something else to look forward to later too. So, today, I drove to the Sheaf without thinking, the promise of a warm welcome and all the other associated feelings pulling me onwards.
And then the chasm opened up in front of me; a void of belonging. I no longer belonged. No longer lived in the community and no longer had any reason to linger. Grief is a silent thief, not flashy or brash, but patient cold and unflinching. It’s only in the quiet moments that you suddenly realise that part of you has been taken. Your heart lurches in panic but you know it’s too late; what you’ve lost will never return.
Why bother? Why put yourself through it?
I drove on towards the city, towards the blaze of neon and sodium sparkling on the wet road; scant compensation for the dull, scuffed wooden treasures I’d lost.
I didn’t get far before I pulled over and re-thought what I should do….. damned if I’d give it up. The pint of Farmer’s Blonde was the best I’d ever had, and Bloody-Minded is my middle name.