Sunday morning and I was feeling pretty down. I’d used up all my reserves and had run dry. I was tired, emotional and fragile.
I knew rationally it was exhaustion but of course, is it possible to be rational when you’re being irrational?
At times like these in California, when things got too much, I would hop on my trusty ladies’ bike and ride to the beach. I’d buy a cup of mint tea from Cafe Collage and would sit on the beach looking out across the great blue Pacific. I’d see dolphins or seals which would restore my sense of calm and things would be put back in perspective.
In the days when Pig was still alive we’d drive up to Malibu where inevitably she’d drink too much salt water which rapidly turned into a salt water enema and she would end up with sand in every orifice. Silly dog but happy days.
Thinking about it brought tears to my eyes or I should say, more tears as I’d done quite a lot of exhausted crying.
Nothing was wrong exactly. I’d just hit rock bottom and after staying buoyantly positive during the past year, I deserved to have a day off.
In a moment of madness I decided to get the train to Brighton.
I needed to get out of London. To see the ocean but failing that, perhaps the cold, brown English Channel would do. I wasn’t feeling optimistic but by midday I was sitting on a train heading to the coast. At least I wasn’t sitting alone at home.
Combined with the company conference, a huge amount of pressure, wedding planning and the long distance relationship, I desperately needed a shoulder to cry on and that shoulder was in France.
Half an hour later on a very slow train, I made it to East Croydon. Things weren’t looking good…
The train passed a telephone box graveyard. Dozens of iconic red phone boxes stood to attention; faded, sad and rusted.
Blocks of red brick flats with the tiniest windows caught my eye. No French doors or panoramic views of London from those little slits.
The grey day wore on.
Arriving in Brighton I walked down the hill towards a tiny sliver of grey sea. At the end of the road I bought a hot drink and walked down on to the pebbled beach. It was cold, snowing a little but the jade green water soothed me, the benign sea calmed me, the soft grey sky hung heavily overhead. The sound of the pebbles filled my thoughts as the waves rolled them gently against each other, rubbing off edges and smoothing sides.
I stood gazing out to the horizon. It was very cold, it wasn’t California but it did the job. Slowly the tension left my body, the energy of the water replenished me and I felt better.
I turned away and slowly crunched my way back up the beach.