Riley: the simultaneous bane of my existence and one of the loves of my life.
I started writing this at the beginning of the week and was finishing it up today when I got a call from my vet to tell me that Riley, my boisterous, maddening, gorgeous little guinea pig had had an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic and had died. Worst fucking luck. I didn’t have him long but I adored that little terror and am typing this addendum in the midst of some tears. On the whole, I am still riding a wave that goes up, the good definitely outweighs the bad but isn’t this just irony in all of its douchebaggery? RIP, Riles. Rocky and I will miss you. Pouring out a little timothy hay for you, buddy.
The week before last, a troupe of hefty and very charming Polish men arrived at my house to rip up the damaged back fence and replace it with shiny new (and eye-wateringly expensive) panels. It was a lot of work; the kind of work that involved them having to do away with a few of my conifers and hack through some undergrowth which left them with bloodied arms and heaving chests. It was hot and the air was heavy with pollen; the breeze of the week before had packed up and buggered off. Everyone was sweating.
As I ferried cold drinks out to them (which they spurned, preferring hot black coffee instead) I asked them if they were alright. They had been working solidly for hours and the air was almost oppressive. Working from home afforded me the sweet relief of being able to wear my banana-print shorts and point the fan directly at my face but they were outside and their work was decidedly more physical than mine, and asshole that I am, I worried that the coffee was dehydrating them and that there was a good chance one of them would faint and I’d have to explain to my boss that I couldn’t join the conference call because I was driving one of my fence-erectors to A&E. But as I approached, I noticed that they were chilling on the grass, smoking cigarettes and chuckling.
Me: *slightly suspiciously* Everything alright?
Henry: It’s nice to take a moment.
Most of the time, I’m so preoccupied with stuff—with making sure my tenants are behaving, that my bills are paid, that my accountant isn’t fucking up, that this house isn’t going to come tumbling down around our ears at any moment—that I forget that I am allowed to just stop and fucking enjoy everything I’ve been working so hard to achieve.
It’s a nasty habit that I’ve acquired; one that I really need to kick.