When The Cats Away

Ever heard of the saying, when the cats away the mice will play. Well the Cats away and this little mouse is ok.

I dropped Ted the airport at seven am Sunday morning, Mother’s Day. He’s gone to visit family interstate. My initial thought was, he won’t be home for a week and that feels a long time. After dropping Ted to the airport I headed to Jane’s where we were all meeting for Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day used to be more about my mum and when she passed I thought wow Mother’s Day is now about me. What I’ve realised over the past few years is that we need our children more than our children need us as they grow older and become young adults.

Jane and Harley cooked a lovely roast lamb lunch and Jane made lovely Rhubarb cake.

The day was a nice, Rupert and Sofia, and Archie came as well. The boys left and Jane and I watched the move, ‘Somethings Gotta Give’ a 2003 American romantic comedy. It’s a favourite. By 6 pm I was ready for home. I’d gotten up at 5am. As I got in my car I became quite aware there were still a lot of hours of the evening left. A feeling of dread came over me. Why was I feeling so bad I asked myself. As I drove home I thought about walking into the dark house and being alone. It seemed odd that I felt so bad because I have come home to an empty house lots of times. Ted works long hours and is often not home until 9pm. I’m used to being alone in the house. The difference was, this time nobody was coming home. Archie was staying at Bridget’s place.

As I drove I thought and I believed that this dread was due to my past trauma. Being alone with no one coming home to me. That was a situation I struggled with when Harry died. No longer would he walk through the door. He was a shift worker so I was used to him coming home late, but, when no one comes home at all that’s what mattered. Once I recognised that this feeling of dread had come from past emotions I knew I just had to get on and deal with it.

I arrived home, came inside and immediately locked the doors. Other times I am home this doesn’t bother me, but knowing no one was expected through the doors I locked them and felt slightly more secure. I started do my normal homely stuff. Did my exercise workout, cleaned the kitchen up, fed the dogs, and prepared for work the next day. Before I knew it, it was 10:15pm. I had been absolutely fine until it became time for bed.

I flicked the lights off downstairs one-by-one and as each one went off the area got dimmer and dimmer and eventually dark as my finger touched the switch and the last light went off. I walked upstairs and turned on a few lights. I felt safe up there away from the dark area lurking below me.

I have some tiny fairy lights wrapped around my cast iron bed head but never usually turn them on because they keep Ted awake. I like them, they are warm looking and nicely light the room. Not to bright but enough you aren’t in the darkness. I lit a candle. I was ready for bed. I brought the 2 dogs into the room and shut the door as we always do. But I felt this sense of darkness looming beneath me. The big space downstairs. The space where there could be a monster who could come up the stairs, slowly, step by step, creeping up in silence, me lying in my bed unaware of anything and the monster being out there, outside my bedroom door.

What if that happened I thought to myself. I have never lived on my own. I moved out of my parents home to live with girlfriends, then Harry and even when Harry died I had the kids still in the house. I never allowed myself to get scared then. I couldn’t afford to be scared because I had a sense of responsibility to the kids. I had to be strong, I was their protector, I never really thought about me. But here I was now just me. I now was my own protector and I was a bit scared. Scared of a home invasion, scared of the dark and the monsters that inhabit it.

As a little girl, I never hung my legs over the side of the bed because I was always scared a monster would be under my bed and grab my leg and pull me under and steal me away. Right now I was that little girl again sitting on her bed, legs up.

We have an old Californian Bungalow style home. The doors to the rooms have locks that you can lock with an old-fashioned key. I have the key, so I decided go lock myself and the dogs in. The lock was a bit jiggery from years of no use, but I got the key to turn. I was hoping it would unlock but thought that could be solved in the morning if needed. I could ring someone and they would come and rescue me.

I had changed my bed with fresh pink floral sheets which I hadn’t used for sometime but felt like making the bedroom very feminine feeling as it was just me going to be in there. When watching, Somethings Gotta Give, Diane Keaton who plays Erica Barry says she learnt living alone to put the pillows in the middle of the bed as no point sleeping on one side when sleeping alone. So I moved my pale pink silk pillow cased pillows into the middle of my floral sheets and hopped in. I had my liquorice tea and scrolled through my smartphone, looking at social media and other things. When it came time to go to sleep I had the luxury of having a meditation playing with the volume up instead of needing to put headphones in my ears like I usually do so as not to wake Ted.

The candle, the fairy lights, the meditation playing on volume and extra space in the bed all felt quite luxurious. I did remember however how much when single after Harry dying I hated sleeping alone and now it felt a luxury!  This grounded me and made me think of it as a little vacation whilst Ted was away and comforted by the fact it was temporary and that he’d be coming home. This wasn’t an unwanted reality just a little me time and it felt nice.

I woke the next morning safely after no invasion from the monsters and got up, the door opening easily as I turned the key and went to work. Ted rang that night and said he was missing me, but for me it still felt like a normal night, because at 8.55pm he quite often isn’t yet home. So I felt fine! To me it was just a normal week night. I definitely think it was easier as well because for the next two nights Archie was home.

Last night was another night alone and yes I locked myself in my room again away from the monsters of the dark. Sat up in my bed like ‘lady muck’ and sipped on my freshly made liquorice herbal tea and watched an Australian show I enjoy, Interview by Andrew Denton on my smartphone propped up against a pillow and once again listened to a meditation as I drifted off to slumber land.

So this little mouse besides being a scardy cat in the dark, has been ok. The puppies are looking after me.

But I’m only ok because this feels like a little girly vacation with my two loveable pooches because Ted will be back. And that is what makes it all ok.

Love Lucy x

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