What a remarkable few days I have just had. From a low point slump early last week where I just could not be arsed with anything or anyone I think I am starting to find a way forwards, small steps of course. Since Ricky Gervais has made a packet from the simply wonderful Afterlife on Netflix by talking about such steps I thought I would write something. Hopefully not leaving my readers blubbing for a change? Well, lets see.
A question I have asked myself too many times over the last 5 months is “who am I”? It’s really not something I’ve ever had need to query before and the repeated consideration for the first time in my life has been quite taxing. I’ve always just been into loads of stuff and doing loads of stuff and Jackki and I would just see opportunity for a good time in most things and just get the fuck on with it. Not doing that, and instead asking this stupid bloody question again and again has been hard. I am not oblivious to my own “experience kleptomania” and I remember one morning walking into work at RR looking down at Vans Skate Shoes, Kevlar lined biker jeans, Adam Ant T-shirt, fleece jacket and with a flat cap on my head thinking WTF. I mean everyone is a skateboarding, bike riding, long distance walking, punk loving country bumpkin aren’t they? Anyway, I looked in the mirror last Thursday and saw a grey beardy old tramp looking back at me, this bothered me more than usual, where was Adi hiding and where was his skateboard?
I had been talking about getting away for a break but couldn’t find the right idea. Everything was either too similar to being at home, something I wish we had done together or re-visiting places we had been together. At one point I even considered doing a package holiday to Spain, not my idea of a holiday at all and was wisely advised that this would be akin to self harm. I had tried going right back to Swinton to see if Adi was hanging around there to give me some ideas but apart from a yearning for meat pie, chips and gravy from Lees chippy on the top road that was not inspiring.
Saturday brought a little step forwards. I had agreed to go out to a nearby village hall with some great friends for a race and bingo night. Now anyone who knows me will already know that I don’t do party games so this was a bit of an odd one. I had a great night overall and a good laugh with friends but there were times during the numerous rounds of bingo that I sat staring at the bingo card wondering what the fuck was I doing? It was like a vision of my future from hell, sat in a care home being ‘entertained’ in a ‘wish I was dead’ kind of manner. I couldn’t work out why I was there and why I had agreed to go at all but during the night I worked it out. These were the kind of nights Jackki loved and she would have persuaded me to go, against my will, and I would then relax and have a good time while pretending to hate it for dramatic effect, playing my role as the grumpy sod. Only Jackki would know the truth and it didn’t matter if it was my thing or not since doing stuff together was the way we worked. I was there because Jackki would have wanted to go and wouldn’t let me avoid it and my mind still yearns to do the things we did. Does that mean I should go the next time? Am thinking probably not and that for my own sanity I need to avoid trying to be “Jackki and Adi” and just be me.
Sunday was a big thing. Tickets for the derby had been purchased many months earlier when the world was not so fucked up and Michael and I were ready for it. This would be my first time at City for a few years, quite possibly 5 years since a home match, and most importantly the first time without Arkid being around. The team did us proud and it was a day of unapologetic joy and Arkid was with me throughout since I was wearing the shirt I bought for him when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Michael and I talked about the frustration around our COVID cancelled trip with Dave and George for the Real Madrid game in 2020 that would have provided some very precious memories. On every City goal I touched the badge over my heart and knew Dave was with us. I only lost it briefly after the match when I heard the first bars of “Blue is the colour, and football is our game…..” ring out across the stadium and I was transported immediately back to the City social club on a Junior Blues Sunday. But my tears were not the same self pitying deep sadness of recent months, they were different somehow, not happy tears but just a deep emotional connection with Arkid expressed through the shared joy within a football stadium. I’ve written about football before and how its much more than watching some blokes kicking a ball round, have a read here.
So on Friday I had actually found an answer to the search for some travel and I booked a trip to Bahrain for next weekend to go see the first race of the Formula 1 season. Solo travel without the need to think about anyone or anything other than myself, I will let you know how it goes but I am looking forward to something with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ for the first time for a while. In celebration of this I cut my hair and got rid of the fluffy grey beard, as well as messaging loads of people to tell them about my planned trip. Genuinely excited. So a weekend full of positives and the search to rediscover the Adi that has been in hiding is making some progress. I have found my passport and will report back on my travels when I get back but it is nice to finish this little passage looking forwards to an exciting little trip.
Thanks for reading.