The Hotel

I’m sitting on the ground in a small hotel playground.

My head is thumping, I feel like it should be the middle of the night, but its still early in the morning. Construction workers are building something in the distance, it’s loud and they’re shouting at each other. I want to yell at them to shut up, but I have no energy. The grass is damp, they’ve had sprinklers on overnight, my pants are getting wet, but I don’t care. I feel awful and I can hardly comprehend what’s happened.

How can the love of my life go from living to dead in an instant?

The kids want all my attention, they are unsettled, scratchy and whiny. I want to yell at them to leave me alone and I want to hold them close to me all at the same time. “Are you OK to watch them while I lie down for a bit, babe?” I  realise that I can never ask that again. Panic and bile start to rise in my throat; I swallow it down bitterly.

My phone is only on 35%. I don’t have a plug adapter – shit I need a plug adapter. I feel faint and not altogether with it. Disconnected. A small but growing voice in my mind is starting to chant: you can’t do this, you’re hopeless, you can’t do this, just give up right now, you can’t do this. I have no idea what time it is and how long you’ve been dead. I stare at some ants on the ground, they make me feel illogically angry, fuck I hate ants. I want to swallow a handful of strong pain killers and not wake up for a long time, feeling out of it would make this easier. Wouldn’t it? I can’t do this, it’s too hard, I want to give up right now.

My daughter asks me to watch her on the slide; I tell her to put her sunhat on. They’re both covered in sand, god I hate sand. I’m exhausted thinking about shaking their clothes and shoes out. I realise I’m shaking, how long have I been shaking for? I should just give up  – I don’t have the strength for this. The weight of rationality and consciousness is leaving my body and floating at the edge of my finger tips. I could open my palm and let it float away across the shitty garden of this transit hotel.

My children are on the top of the climbing frame. I’m on the ground staring at a black hole of hopelessness, it’s enticing me to just slide down into it and lie there. As I watch my two lovely children I remember seeing him hold them when they were born: so proud, so in love, so sure of his instant devotion. I look at my young, full-of-hope-and-love children as they climb, and I know the black hole will have to wait until later. Right now I have to help them get down from the playground.

Helen Gilby is a widow and mother of two young children. She lives in Christchurch New Zealand. Her previous work has been published on The Spinoff and Sacraparental. She is a freelance writer, who is passionate about social justice and making the world a better place.

1 comments On The Hotel

  • Oh Helen. You do it so well…the writing, the parenting, the grieving, the living.
    Keep loving the world, but let us love you too.

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