I’m sat in a Gail’s bakery in Pimlico. And it occurs to me that right now, right this second, in this moment, I am truly happy.
The bread is fresh and stacked up in piles in the window. There are trays and trays of different cakes and bakes and sandwiches and slices, laid out on the counter, waiting for the day to start. There are sticky granola bars and mini honey cakes, tahini bites and brownies, macaroons and drizzle loaves, cheese straws as thick as sticks of rock.
The lady at the counter compliments a lady on her colourful skirt; greets an old man by name and says she’ll bring him his coffee and change out to the table in front. The sunlight is slanting through the doorway; there’s a wicker basket for umbrellas – empty of course, as it’s going to be warm again today. I wonder if I’ll find a place like this in New Zealand.
This is happiness. Happiness is coffee, good bread, a morning run and early sunshine. The promise of another beautiful day. Time to myself. To sit and watch and read the papers.
It’s been a funny few weeks since the wedding. I’m finding it hard, with Mum and Dad. With the distance and their ages and the question mark over the future. What is it going to be like in 5 years’ time? And what could I do right now to make it all a bit easier? The answers are, we don’t know, and probably not much.
That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t worry about it, because you worry about something because you care about it. But it also doesn’t mean that among the worry, I’m not allowed moments of peace.
Alongside another eight-hours-plus on the M4 on a sunny weekend, racking your brains for whether Mum seemed forgetful because she isn’t sleeping well, or for some other reason; wondering whether there’s a way to get your dad to eat a little better that doesn’t involve you being there to cook for him; speculating how soon next year you might be able to afford a house, because your mum can’t get up the stairs to your flat at the moment; when it feels like all your friends are at rooftop bars or music festivals… are moments like right now. When you are early for work and have time to watch the world wake up. To watch the guy open the florist over the road, bring the sunflowers out. To read the paper, smell the coffee.
Sometimes I feel like I spend my life torn in half, at other ends of the motorway. I spend it worrying and wondering and planning to fix things, desperately working out how to make everything work. And whenever I’m not doing that, I feel guilty. Sometimes what I need to do is pause, and think about what I have already, and what makes me happy, and what doesn’t need fixing. To remind myself that those things are there too – it’s just hard sometimes to see them. Life has a lot of white noise, and if I’m always tying myself up in knots about what’s going to happen, I miss what is happening right now. Even if what’s happening is … nothing. Just peace. And sunshine. And bread. And coffee.