Usually in winter you climb into a thermal vest and refuse to step out of it until Easter arrives. But this year you have accumulated black satin camisoles to wear under everything you own and enjoy the sensation of surprisingly warm fabric fluttering against your skin. You wear them layered and hidden under jumpers, peeking out from under lacy jackets and today under a cosy cream cardigan with a necklace from which hangs golds pendants inscribed with the words faith, hope and passion.
Now you have taken off your cardigan and replaced it with a black kimono and you have dragged out your crying blanket because a peculiar, unexpected sadness has submerged your Sunday and you cannot put a false nailed finger upon why. You only know that your skin is goose-pimpled and because you have balanced your rather lovely Susie Watson mug upon your decolletage there is a shocking slash of red heat upon your chest.
A thermal vest would have protected you from such calamity.
Today there has been a lovely, happy children’s party in a sensory play place: a dark room with spinning lights and moving watery walls. Your beautiful cousin was there. A girl ten years younger than you who seems to be doing a much better job of being grown up. Indeed all the young women in the family seem to be pulling off adulthood better than you are: each with two children, weddings planned, husbands, jobs. And though you are rarely in the habit of comparison, you cannot help but feel that you, with your skewiff view of the world, your relentless capacity for trust and eccentric take on making a living, are not enough. And you are thoroughly exhausted by the effort it takes to feel normal.
This too will pass. This too will pass. This is just one sad little Sunday in a cast of thousands. So you light candles and fry mince and put your phone down and watch Ben 10 and exchange your camisole for an aubergine thermal vest and feel better, draping your crying blanket around your shoulders and lighting the fire.
Perhaps then, this is not sadness but cold. The icy remnants of the high winds that have blown you from pillar to post this week, or the warnings signs of the kind of sniffles that have been threatening to consume you for days.
You stare at the flames. Goosebumps or no goosebumps, some fires burn too brightly.