Belfast Telegraph

I may be feeling down now, but tomorrow night I'll be all fun

By Nuala McKeever

I'm in a bad mood. A right twist, as my mother might say. A downer. Is it because rehearsals aren't going well? No, rehearsals are going fine. I'll be ready and eager by tomorrow night to be on stage at the Lyric in my one-woman play, In The Window, which is on there all this week until Sunday.

I performed it this time last year. It went very well. Was sold out and well received. I've enjoyed getting back into it this year. A welcome change from sitting in my own head.

Well, it's still my own head, but now there are four different characters to voice and lots of moving around and "hilarious" misunderstandings to recreate night after night for the entertainment of others. What could be more fun!?

No, that's not what's causing the grumps.

Is it because weight loss stalled this week and I'm worrying I've done something "wrong"? No, that's okay. I've already consoled myself with the fact that my weekly weigh-in was a day earlier than normal and I'd had some breakfast so it was probably an inaccurate reading. Never mind that the figures were staring up at me from the scales. Yes, it might say that, but really, I'm probably a pound or two less. Really.

So that's not the reason for being out of sorts.

Maybe it's because I've been out more in the real world of buses and other passengers, one of whom was a young woman with two babies and seemingly no ability or interest in looking after them, preferring to sit texting the whole time while one wee toddler ran up and down, climbing on anything that didn't move.

Finally I spoke up and asked her to take care of him. This just resulted in her shouting at the wee critter and grabbing him roughly, forcing him to stand, crying, between her legs, while she carried on texting furiously, threatening him with: "If you don't stop, you'll not see yer Daddy at all!"

Yes, this was a depressing scene. The frustrated mother in me wanted to take the children off her and shout: "Why the heck do you have kids if you've no interest in looking after them, you silly wee girl?"

A wiser part of me wanted to sit down with her and ask if there was anything I could do to help, since it must be so difficult managing two small children at such a young age. Anger and compassion battling it out on the number 77. Everyone else just tutted and looked the other way.

But that's not even the real reason for my upset. No, it's much more fundamental.

I had a dream. Not in the Martin Luther King Jnr sense of the term. Mine was a horrible, vivid, real dream, where M was alive but being evasive, wouldn't listen to me, said he couldn't be with me but wouldn't answer my pleas for explanation. "But why? Why can't two people like us who love each other make it work? Why?"

Woke up in a panic. "If he doesn't want me, I'm nothing!" Panic turned to anger. "Bloody man! What am I doing gurning about him being dead when he's just a pain in the backside?"

But the real downer isn't the anger. Anger's just the bravado up front. Behind the anger is fear and despair.

Is this it? Am I doomed to give away my power to be happy, to a man? Even when he's dead?

Have I learned nothing?

'I'd a dream. Not in the Martin Luther King Jnr sense. Mine was a horrible, vivid, real dream'

Belfast Telegraph

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