I was mentally defeated by the weather before I had even left the house. My lack of mental fortitude today really exposed the weakness of my mind. The warm-up was fine; I started off fine; but I exhibited a complete lack of care, lack of commitment, lack of intensity. I was lethargic, moving around the court like a slug, mentally prepared to lose because I hated these weather conditions: this stupid sudden, seemingly random bursts of wind that served no purpose other than to annoy me; this ludicrous coldness that had no business to dig its icy claws into my flesh at the tail end of April; the waterlogged court, soaking up typical English rain, causing the balls to soak up water, bit by bit, water which then flung themselves into my face as little droplets whenever I hit the ball.
I absolutely hated it. I absolutely did not want to play. When I bothered to up the intensity for two or three points -- kept my legs moving, actually ran for the ball -- I won those points. For the rest of the time, I just didn't care. So I'm pleased that I kept my loss to a respectable 6-5. But it was a bad start to the day.
It got worse, of course. After spending an hour 'playing tennis' in this awful cold, another 20 minutes walking back in the cold, I came back to an icy room. For some reason that I would never be able to fathom because I am not on the same mental wavelength as unreasonableness and a complete void of common sense, the college had decided that it was a good idea to turn off the heating for the weekend, presumably because April and therefore spring and therefore no need for central heating. I sat shivering in my room; shivering despite wearing my long-sleeve Heat-tec from Uniqlo underneath a cashmere sweater that I bought in Edinburgh. Shivering in my room, dressed in winter clothes, at the end of April, because my student accommodation thought it would be wise to turn off the heating, as if the people in charge had no access to a weather forecast.
I was angry. I was frustrated. Above all else, I hated everything: England, English weather, Cambridge, its smallness, my PhD, my existence in Cambridge, England, the English weather, how bureaucracy and stupidity seemed intricately linked, the grey skies, the coldness, the persistent coldness that seemingly infiltrated my skin and settled within my bones even as I huddled, in my winter clothes, beneath my duvet, this constant chill that refused to leave, that had no business creeping all over my body, that I had no reason suffering, no reason apart from the inescapably stupid fact that the college had turned off the heating for reasons, once again, that I can never, ever fathom.
I wrote an angry email to the bursar and the maintenance people. I decided to delete the line 'it is unconscionable of the College to turn off the heating when it's actually cold'; 'unconscionable' seemed too strong a word. I ended with, 'May I suggest that the College checked the weather forecast before turning on or off, as the case may be, the heating for the weekend?'
Two hours later, just as I was about to change and head over to Thomas' where it was presumably warmer, I noticed that the heating had been turned back on.
Why couldn't they have done this on, I don't know, Friday before people went off for the weekend? I really cannot stand being cold all the time. I cannot stand it. It depresses me, and I say this unequivocally. The only productive thing that I did all day was send off my application to UCL for the teaching fellow position. Apart from that, I was moody, I was depressed, I didn't want to do anything, couldn't even read Virgina Woolf's Jacob's Room because I was so upset, and so I spent my afternoon/early evening being upset about being cold because college turned off the heating.
I don't even know what my life is. Sometimes, I am struck by how ludicrous it is, the fact that I am 32 this year and living like a student. What am I even doing? Don't even get me started on some of the children that I live with, who think it's okay to leave their dirty dishes in the kitchen unwashed for weeks.
I am almost certain that I will move out of Cambridge and to London for the next academic year. I can't take this shit anymore. On that note, I need to get away at the end of May, after I meet my supervisors. I wanted to go to Venice in March but I couldn't because I was swamped with things. Ever since I came back in January, I have not left, and it is driving me crazy. I need to get away.
Here's the issue, though. If I were single, I would book my trip right now: book a four-day trip, Monday to Thursday, or a five-day, Monday to Friday, whatever; definitely avoid the weekend because I don't want to pay 200 pounds for a 45-minute flight to Bordeaux.
But last Saturday, when I was in the library and found my mind drifting too often to matters other than homosexuality and 377A and the attendant philosophical issues, I decided to end the impasse between Thomas and me. At about 5.30pm, I called him and told him what I'd pretty much decided to do on the day that he flew to Spain for work. It was a realisation that I had on Sunday evening: he'd kept the important promise to work on issues as they arise instead of taking the easy way out and giving up.
After I told him that I'd read his messages over and over, that he made valid points, that I changed my mind and wanted to date again, and that I'd missed him, he said, 'I've missed you too, Mountain Blue.' We talked for about half an hour before he had to go out for dinner with people from work.
I hung up and felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my chest. I eventually left the library at 9pm.
He came back on Thursday night, close to midnight. He went to work on Friday and was late to pick me up from the faculty because he was stuck at work; but he came eventually. We had dinner at a Chinese place. He ordered a Singapore Sling without knowing what it was, and I told him too late that I didn't like the cocktail because it's too sweet. We talked, laughed, and when we went back to his car, a boy who was getting into his mother's car parked next to Thomas' Mustang said, pointing at the Mustang, 'Mom, I like this car.' Thomas hovered around the passenger's side, taking some time to open the door for me.
'What are you doing?' I said in my usual semi-whiny fashion which he finds amusing.
'I'm waiting for the boy to close the door,' he said, laughing, then put his arm around me and squeezed me tight against his chest.
I like the way my tallness comes up short next to him; the way I can bury my face in his chest and not feel the base of his neck; the way I have to tiptoe to kiss him even in heels. He calls me tiny and small, two words that are not frequently used to describe me. His sheer physicality makes me feel vulnerable when I am wrapped up in it, when the only thing that I am feeling in the moment is the firmness of his body -- his arms, his chest, the muscles in his back.
I went over to his tonight depsite my bad mood, or precisely because of my bad mood, and despite his feeling sick the whole day. We watched the second half of Ex Machina (we started watching this a couple of months ago), and then I changed my mind about sleeping over when I saw how terrible he was looking: lethargic, drained of energy, not the usual Thomas that I have come to like very much. He'd also wanted to go to bed at 9.30pm, which was way too early for me, so I decided to leave him in peace and come back.
I left his place in a much better mood. He'd made me laugh despite his feeling sick; he carried me in his arms and attempted to bench press me as if to prove a point or two (one, how 'tiny' I am; and two, how strong he is), and deliberately snuggled me in this really awkward position just to make me laugh. And there was this exchange:
Thomas: Some guy from work sent me something about de-evolution and a flat earth.
Me: Is he religious?
Thomas: He's an idiot.
Me: So he's religious.
Thomas, laughing: Yes.
Yesterday, after having coffee at Pret (last resort; everywhere else, including Waterstones' two cafes, was packed), we spent some time in my room before I had to go off to Stefan's graduation gathering. He was telling me about someone at work claiming to be a Cambridge graduate when all he'd taken was a course at Madingley Hall; specifically, he was telling me about this person's student card. 'On the obverse,' he said, 'it says that the card cannot be used to gain access to colleges.'
'Wait, on the what?'
'Obverse,' he said.
'Is that o-v-e-r-s-e?' I said.
'No, o-b-v-e-r-s-e, obverse.'
'What's wrong with "reverse"?'
'It technically means going backwards, though it's now common usage to say the "reverse" side of a card. It's more precise to say "obverse".'
All of this is a long, roundabout way of saying something quite simple: I really like him, I like being with him, I hope that this works out; and so because of this, I am in two minds about spending 200 pounds on a shitty Ryanair flight just so he might be able to come with me. On the one hand, I would, obviously, love to go to Bordeaux with him (or Milan, or some other European city that isn't in England); but on the other hand, he can't commit to it until maybe two weeks prior because work, and it's already so expensive now. It is a bit of a conundrum.
Anyway. I am tired.