Crossing the tracks

This week I’m feeling Eeyore. Our whizzbit lodger Henry will be leaving us tonight after a week that has nearly broken my health; and yesterday I fell off my bike under cover of night in slow motion when I was crossing the railway tracks after gig rowing as it was very wet and slippy on the path.

train tracks next to the Bristol dockside

I gathered myself off the floor where I had skidded and the first thing I did was look around. If anyone had run over and asked if I was OK I might have cried because a strange thing had happened to me, but as it was, there was no one, and I was in fact not only fine but saw immediately that it could have been much worse. I cycled off feeling a little sorry for myself and shaken as it would’ve been terrible if I’d fallen into the water the other side.

My partner D____ says that we can have a cozy weekend in front of the fire, and enjoy a silent night house between the undefined time when Henry returns his keys, and the undefined time before Ben comes back from his travels and I enter the next round of lodger roulette.

Henry asked me to give him a reference and I’m expecting his new landlord to call any minute tonight. The dilemma of what to say is easy, it’s in my interest to hand him over, but if they ask me did he pay his rent on time?

Hell No. Once it was late accidentally, and the second time he withheld his rent and said he might not pay as he had found somewhere else more quickly than he had thought. We had words about that. Now he is refusing to give back his keys until I hand him his deposit. I said ‘hell no’.

Was he OK to live with? Why was he leaving? Well, when I gave him his notice I was diplomatic, I said “it’s nothing personal”. “Sometimes things just don’t work out.” “You will be much happier with some friends your own age who like to watch Family Guy every night.” He nodded.

I wanted to say that he was driving me up the wall and I thought he was a toad but he would’ve probably said the something similar back. “There’s no need to feel hurt” I said.

“I don’t feel hurt” he said. “I’m sure you do feel hurt because we all feel hurt when something like this happens, it’s like a rejection, but really, it’s nothing personal” I said.

I lied. It’s always personal when things go wrong and it’s all happening in the place you wish was the least dramatic in your life.

Am I glad he is leaving? Yes. But the lessons of life are compounded in these lodgers, and simple, I learn them in waves of repetition.

To be a better shipmate, lighthouse keeper, and Captain steering this vessel, The Home, I need to chose my battles and remember that even after a small stumble or fall, things could’ve been much worse…and the day after a storm is often bright and careless to the night’s drama. Actually in the night drama is heightened by the very darkness and shadows that play with our fears and imaginations, whether at sea, or on your knees on a deserted train track in the oldest part of town, the Bristol dockyards.

Nobody sees the stumbles, you pick yourself up, and only you know that however near you were to the edge, you didn’t actually fall.

winnie the pooh


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