In two weeks I will go to Nottingham. I will go on my own. There is no specific intention. I just need to go outside. I have written this in my diary, so it will be happening. The H2 channel has a programme on about radioactive cows. The H2 channel is brilliant.
I’ve bought a Victorian-esque brooch from eBay. I usually attach brooches to my bag, but they always seem to fall off and then I am heartbroken forever, or until I find a new one. I have a new one. It isn’t an owl shape, but it is some kind of shape. I shan’t attach it to my bag. I should attach it to a blazer. I don’t have a blazer. I need to buy a blazer. I adore the colour grey. I will buy a grey blazer. I’m going to Nottingham in 10 days, I will buy a grey blazer then.
I’m supposed to be going to Nottingham next weekend. I’ll be buying a grey blazer, and my plan is to rummage in all of the charity shops. Nottingham is pretty big and there are loads of charity shops so I should be able to find one. Although Long Eaton has a load of charity shops too, and I only have to walk around the corner to get to them. Thursday night is karaoke night on the high-street and Elvis Presley vibrates the walls of my house. We’re that close. I have to get the bus to Nottingham. It’s not too much distance, but it is some kind of distance. It’s a big place. Bigger than me.
I’ve been thinking about my trip to Nottingham in a few days. I’m not sure whether I’ll go. There’s so many charity shops round the corner, that it doesn’t seem worth the bus fare. I might go to Nottingham though, I haven’t really been in a while, on my own. I could get a smoothie. There is a Costa in Long Eaton though, so it is more metropolitan than it used to be. We only ever used to have one coffee shop, and now there’s two. Not that I am bothered about metropolitanisation or post-modernism or how the largest Tesco in Europe somehow doesn’t seem so impressive. You know what I mean. Oh, it’s not the biggest any more? That’s really interesting.
For example, I was going to Nottingham tomorrow, but I don’t like to go outside. It just seems so… I will just try to go to Long Eaton, if that. It’s just so big and busy, I worry on public transport, and I can’t count change when there’s a queue. My purse is so full of change that I literally have to pay with change all the time, but God I hate paying with change so I just don’t go out. It isn’t the only reason. My manager called me a nervous wreck today. People in cafés ask me questions and I can’t hear them properly, and then I panic, and they’ll think I’m odd if I burst into tears over some fucking teacake. I’ve told so many people the same things that the whole world is as bored with my lifelessness as I am. I have baths and drink alcohol, but there’s still Elvis ruining my Thursday nights. If it’s pills or therapy I only have one option, personally, personally. There’s nothing left so we’ll start the list again. I seem to snap so very easily. I’ll try to make it to Nottingham, you faultless cunt.
I don’t think I’ll go outside today. I can’t, I can’t move. It seems easier to sleep. There’s a crack in the wall which gives the house some sort of character that it doesn’t deserve. I’m getting up now. I won’t make a smoothie this morning because I feel too sick again, but cereal bars and coffee are welcome. I’m starting to realise that I’m narrating in my head because it provides some logical justification for the avoiding of my diary entry. I have nothing taped this morning to watch. Soccer AM is on which is a relief as I haven’t overslept ridiculously. My Dad will be watching Soccer AM in his house. If he hasn’t got dressed yet, I’m alright to not do it either. I’ve reverted to the H2 channel but it’s too early for them to be silly and I am disappointed.
I’ve finished watching two films now and it’s lunchtime. I am sprawled on the armchair, my feet on the headrest, my scalp buried in cushions. I haven’t yet injected for breakfast. Injecting leads to showering which leads to dressing which leads to being ready to leave the house all of a sudden. It’s too late now to go to Nottingham, so I will go to Long Eaton. Not looking in my diary, the result is expected and stuffed with relief. I will go to Costa first. Before I leave I will need to make sure the bathroom window is closed. In checking the zip on my boots catches on my tights and tears a hole. Is this a sign that I shouldn’t leave the house? Probably. I change my tights removing as few clothes as possible. I think you can see my legs too clearly, I haven’t ever worn 10 denier before.
It is warmer outside than I expected and I don’t feel as uncomfortable in my thin tights. I don’t know why I am sitting down in Costa. I have my notepad with me but it would be so pretentious to get it out and to start writing. My red berry fruit cooler is delicious, but big, and cold. The hint was in the title. The people sat next to me are chatting about their gardening problems and I’m sucking down my drink so quickly, trying to un-crease my face from the braced brain freeze position. I may very well be here forever. I don’t know how to stop one action and begin another. I will keep brain freezing until my drink is gone. I have no signal on my phone. I have nothing to do with my left hand. I still have half a cup of stuff left to consume. There are so many people around me. I’m not the sort to take photos of myself in a coffee shop but I take a surreptitious picture of my leg, to perhaps prove that I was there, and to have something to do with my goddamn hands. My drink is finished. My head is hurting. I get up and leave without incident.
I could go home right now, but I don’t. There are charity shops everywhere and I will amend my route home to include them all. I am trying to find a grey blazer. The first shop doesn’t have any. I momentarily lose my mind in the British Heart Foundation and find some interesting dresses and blazers to try on. I have unintentionally lost so much weight recently that I have no idea of my size. I collect anything from size 8 to 14, knowing my shaking hands are going to give me away to the till assistant. I used to be a 12, what in the name of Satan am I doing with my selection process? She knows.
I try them on and everything is too big. I sometimes don’t remember how to move. I could only take four items in the changing room, so the lady is standing outside with my fifth item. There is only one changing room and I’m taking too much time to open the buttons on one dress. I hear feet shuffling and know someone else wants to use the room. I am taking up space and wasting time. Because the woman is waiting for me I take the dress from her with false enthusiasm and pass an item back I hadn’t tried yet, and couldn’t dare to, because I don’t know how to use my hands. I want to go home. I hastily try on the remaining items and take sloppy photos. My smile is too detached, and everybody knows because the till assistant must have told them. I question my reason for documenting my journey today. Everything is too big. I am outside the changing room and two women are waiting. I apologise and leave without purchase. I look at my phone. I have been outside the house for 17 minutes.
The next shop has nothing to offer. The one following however is my favourite shop in Long Eaton- the Lighthouse charity shop. Costa’s sugar arrests the anxiety my bloodstream. Immediately a wave of familiarity washes over me and I don’t much mind being stood in the sunshine. The high-street market bustles around me without need for my interaction. The sky-blue painted window panes frame an eclectic shop front display- today a mix of Chinese and Wild West items. A sign declares that they can be purchased from April 16th. That day is my birthday. An old woman is stationary in the aisle but doesn’t hear me as I try to move past, so I take the difficult navigational path over the second-hand furniture. No-one sees me. In the vintage section I collect a few items and move to try them on in the fancy fitting room with angled mirrors and antique lamps. 1960s music fills my ears as I close the curtain. A feeling of comfort has enveloped me, almost completely unnoticed. There is only one changing room. There is shuffling outside the curtain, customers admiring ancient trinkets. I do not feel fear and undress.
A size 8 beautiful black dress with sequin detailing and long sleeves is too big for me. I am definitely not a size 8. I suspect the sizing was different back in the day. Reluctantly I remove it. The pink-orange dress is wonderful, but also slightly big. I remember my boyfriend asking me why I like dresses which are designed primarily for old ladies. In my head I answer that this is why and twirl. The velvet green dress is disappointingly too big also but I am pleased that I have tried it on because velvet is literal, visceral magic. I am also pleased I came outside today and am somehow not surprised by my revelation. I take photos with distinctly more upbeat enthusiasm. My hands shake so some come out blurred. Six deep breaths, my Grandad always tells me.
I venture into three more charity shops, including a new Barnardos donation centre which I have never been in. They used to sell sofas here. The shop seems too big for the purpose and many of the shelves are empty. A man enquires about a Coca Cola glass collection. I try on a beautiful faux fur coat in the aisle as there are no changing rooms, but am ran over by an elderly gentleman’s suitcase in the process. I retreat back to the high-street, and eventually home.
I look at my diary entry and tick off ‘go to Nottingham’ as I am technically in the county of Nottinghamshire. I tell myself that it isn’t commonplace for me to ignore diary entries, and then wonder when the last time was that I picked up my ukulele. There were no blazer purchases so I will go to Nottingham next weekend. I will go with a friend. I turn on H2 and sink back into the sofa, my feet resting in the head space. There is a programme on about aliens. I feel much better to be surrounded by soft things and subtle hilarity.