thoughts in the mornings

The key is to be honest

The visit with her late wife's ex girlfriend had gone well and the woman was glad that she had asked whether she wanted the old photos and cards from a life 3 decades ago. When she had first come across the box of cards and letters and pictures from her wife's past, she hadn't been sure what to do with it all. She was already hovering on overwhelm and had been contemplating throwing everything out because somehow it seemed easier to forget it all. yet it didn't seem right to throw out the memories of someone else's life so she had done what one of the young people in her life and just asked. “do you want the pictures of your past life with my late wife?” As it was, she had and they had arranged a visit. Which had gone well.

It went well because the two women had a shared history spanning 30 years, crossing lines of friendship and connection across the lesbians of north London and because they had both loved the same woman. She looked at the other pile of letters and pictures belonging to an ex lover of her late wife. Again, the lesbian friendship thing had worked out and the ex lover had remained a friend and so it went on. Women loving women after the fire had gone.

She smiled. It was the lyric of a song that one woman had written for another when the love affair had ended and the friendship remained. “I'll still be loving you, after the fire's gone, after the fire's gone.” There was sadness in the smile. They had played the song at her funeral. Three women who had loved the same woman, gathered, dignified, to say goodbye. Many people had gathered. The woman had been much loved.

Now, almost a decade later, the loft was finally being emptied of its pasts and it was time to look to the future. The kids needed help. depressed, suicidal, anxious. The women had spent an hour or so drinking tea and reflecting on all that had changed since the pandemic. The changes had come much earlier obviously and they sat, still in some degree of wonderment and considered how it was that the country they had known all their lives had become what it had.

It was because the social contract had been broken by governments is what they had agreed. There was no longer the social security of their own younger lives and although they themselves were comfortable enough, they were aware of how many people were struggling. Both were concerned with the effect of the pandemic on the young people and the long term implications for having a population who were so traumatised by life and whose main source of eduction seemed increasingly to come from TIKtok.

They agreed that the first thing needed was acknowledgement. At least let's be honest about what they've all gone through instead of expecting them all to just get on with it and then be surpassed they can't cope with the madness. Let's be honest about it all and then maybe we can move on and make things better.

They were left wing liberals with bleeding hearts in many ways and she smiled at just how cliched life can become as we get older. What did those descriptions even mean any more? She thought about the gender identity struggles that had cropped up in recent years and the debates and debacles around pronouns and misgendering and the opposition and possibility of cancellation that came with getting it wrong.

It seemed easier when they were younger, perhaps because that's what time does. it takes the edge off the pain off the present. It seemed the mental health of today's youth was a common discussion point and she thought back to her own identity explorations . She could remember having crushes on boys and on girls and she thought back to a childhood holiday in Butlins at Bognor Regis. She'd met a girl and for some reason decided to pretend to be a boy. She wasn't sure if the girl had believed her but she could remember the frisson of excitement at the pretence.

It had come to nothing of course and she had spent her teenage years being a girl who liked boys and also liked girls. No biggie beyond the usual teenage angst but it had occurred to her in recent years as debates about gender id become heated and at times hateful, that she might well have been tempted to 'transition' for a short period when she was simply exploring.

Hmm, that's way too big for first thing in the morning she thought. She decided to get into the bath her now not so new lover had run. She smiled. Love is love is love. She was grateful to have grown and was ready for another day in the loft. There was still a lot of love up there and she needed to get it down and get it out into the world because that's what was needed most. More love.