“That I am quite sure won’t happen.” – “But it must happen in time.”

Penelope Fitzgerald

Oddly it is white, or maybe a light grey. A big off-white cloud. It is fluffy but firm, very firm. It descends upon me, envelopes me and slowly squeezes me, crushes me.

It can come on at any time. It is related to nostalgia, of course, always a risk at this time of year for me and in an empty house especially. But now it is even more profound. A deep all-encompassing sadness. So sad, so very sad. It has a physical presence.

A sadness for what has gone, the past, for a past full of regrets, failures and waste. A sadness for the now, a present I cannot envisage or face, even as it stands here right now, in front of me. A sadness for me, for the kids, for their childhood. A sadness for a deep, bitter, frustrating and blocked future. An inevitably always-diminished yet huge, terrifyingly huge, empty space that once was to be a future.

“It will pass, it will get better, it eases in time. It always does.”

“No, that won’t be the way of it.”

No indeed. Not at all.