RE-WRITTEN FOR GREATER CLARITY. For much of the past year I've suffered from stress; the basis for this, which I am deliberately omitting, was not medical. There were periods I could push the stress aside but, more recently, as a resolution of the situation got nearer, the stress intensified: I could not sleep, concentrate on writing, or enjoy the daydreaming that comes with retirement. As I saw it the resolution would take one of three forms: one unpleasantly life-changing, another serious but bearable, the third entirely happy.
Late on Friday afternoon the situation was resolved and it led to the third possibility - the happy one. As a bonus I recognised that the stress may have been the product of my over-imagination. Perhaps, retrospectively, that makes the stress unrealistic, even negligible. It wasn't.
But here's the point I want to consider: my state of mind when I learnt the good news. You'd expect something joyous, wouldn't you? A flash of light? A spreading warmth? A heavenly relaxation?
None of that. Emptiness best describes it. Yes I was glad but gladness is probably an intellectual reaction. But what about emotion - real emotion? There was almost nothing there. I manufactured some emotion by driving to Tesco and buying the store's most expensive champagne. Taittinger, as it happens. VR and I drank it watching cheering events in Brazil's Olympic velodrome.
Half a day later I’m disappointed I wasn't happier. Perhaps this makes me perverse; worse, a lover of cliché endings which I appear to have been denied in this case. Perhaps you, dear reader, think this was a storm in a teacup. But do teacup storms last months?