I woke this morning in a state of tension. My body was coiled into the foetal position, a state of nervousness radiated in my belly and the black fleece blanket that I clutched to me offered no warmth. My 10AM “feed the dog” alarm went off, followed by my 11AM “(Kong) wobbler up” alarm, and finally my 1PM “Hugo midday playtime”. I swiped each off and coiled up again. It was hopeless to hope and it was hopeless to try. Death was inivitable.
“Are you going to get up?” Matt asks, I grumble but don’t otherwise reply. Don’t make me get up. Don’t make me do things. Don’t make me live normal when nothing is normal anymore, please.
“Come on” he prompts, “otherwise you’ll stay in bed and carry on reading the news”. I drop my phone face down on the bed in a failed attempt to hide my transgressions – well, he’s not wrong.
I suppose it started a few days ago for me, after Joe Biden said that the risk of nuclear war is now the highest it has ever been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Matt heard about it but he wouldn’t tell me what he’d heard. He knew that his hands were tied – tell me, or I’d probably find out anyway.
Of course, once I knew then possibility became probability. The risk of escalation was almost certain. Death was now inevitable, and soon.
“Yes a nuke is bad, but one nuke doesn’t just go off and then it’s the end of the world, Helen. There might be one or two at some time, and then everybody sort of stands back and says ‘woah! Let’s not do that’, then they get together and talk about it” Matt says. I want to argue with him, but deep down inside I know that he’s probably right.
“Come on, what have you said before, about catastrophic thinking?”. More grumbles, though I do know that catastrophic thinking is a thing I do.
My speech is somewhat restricted, “what if” is now banned.
No “what if’s” I’ve been told, there are people far, far higher than me who are paid handsomely to hopefully keep “what if” at bay.
There’s a sense of grief today, because in these times of uncertainty then my Dad would have been a source of calm. What I would give for one of his “during the Cold War…” talks right now.
“People have been anticipating World War Three since World War Two ended, Helen” he would say. Grounded, reasonable, calm. I miss him everyday.
Instead, now I have to deal with my mother. Whereas Dad would calm me down, Mum whips it all up. I’m pretty sure that it’s a projection of her own anxieties.
“What do you make of crazy Pootin, Helen?” she asks. Even if I’d openly admitted to not reading the news (and under instruction) for the sakes of my mental health, she tells me anyway. She makes references and assumptions too and I feel my stomach knot up.
Every now and then I flick open the spreadsheet that I created on my phone. I read through all of the other times we’ve been here before, and all of the other times I’ve thought that all-out nuclear war was all but inevitable. I remember locking myself in the bathroom of a caravan in Cornwall so that I could doomscroll during various global disasters. Nuclear war moments away each time, just you wait.
The 2014 Crimean invasion, the tensions in the South China Sea, the stand-off between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un.
The last is the one that brings tears to my eyes, because I also remember how it was that tension that bought about the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, and indeed how nuclear tensions bought about the first START treaty and the end of the Cold War. Maybe, just maybe, there is actually some reason for hope? I hear the G20 summit is in November, and Biden, Zelensky and Putin will be in attendance. Who knows?
I became familiar with nuclear blackmail and ‘The Madman Theory’, which some suggest Putin may now be using. I understand it now, I understand how it works and I also came to realise that President Barack Obama had used nuclear blackmail at least once. The more I read, the more I learned, the more I understood.
This is why I rarely read fiction – I don’t learn anything remotely useful or new.
I became aware of the recent sabotage to the gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, and I read of some suggestion that the HMS Somerset may be deployed to protect British interests in the North Sea. I smiled to myself because I’ve been onboard her, at a sort of open day in Avonmouth. One of two vessels, along with the HMS Quorn. I smile again weakly when I remember that coversation:
Old ships 😀 , my ex said. I laugh softly.
“Bloody idiot” I sigh.
I can’t hate him sometimes, even if I want to.
Also this morning I take a read of the latest piece from Sir. It’s interesting in a way because for as far as we get along, I’m still not quite sure how our play styles would match up. I’ve never been one to resist a bit of cheek here or there, and Sir knows this of me. Just as much though he has more than demonstrated his ability to handle me.
Do you want to cum?
I sigh, but I admit that he has me where he wants me and I acquilsce.
Yes Sir, I reply.
Damn him. Damn thr pair of them.
“Hedonistic sadist” was Sir’s term. I know that variety well it seems, I have two of them. Lucky me.
Suppose that a challenge like me was never going to be easy, huh?
Sir and I have been going though some hardships as of late, though I haven’t really gone into them because sometimes it feels like a fine line between being honest and coming across as bitchy. Red is a lady of the church, and I am not, and I know that Red struggles with the idea of me – a taken woman – having intimate relationships with two men, including her partner, because it’s not what a taken woman should do. Even if she has otherwise agreed to Bill exploring relationships with others, it seems as though there is some resistance now. It does frustrate, and it does hurt also.
But if my further-involvement was going to be a source of hurt and frustration then I was prepared to somehow step back to the level of a friend. It would be hard, sure, but perhaps necessary.
The trouble is that when feelings are already there then sometimes that’s not possible. Denying desires and feelings can breed contempt, and no sooner than I’d suggested it did I worry that my offer would breed said contempt. No, for as much as this situation is causing pain, I knew that the only way is forward.
I know that the conflict in Ukraine is affecting Sir and I personally, Sir because he has loved ones in Ukraine and me because I’m a notorious catastrophizer. Of course I empathise with the people of Ukraine and of course I don’t want them to suffer any more than they already have, I also, naturally, don’t want to see war outside of my own front door.
For whatever reason then I think back to the Ukrainian apple cake that Sir made, and my promises still to make the upside-down spiced apple cake recipe that I know and love. I know that Sir is somewhat limited with the cakes that he can eat because of his kidney disease, so bringing something to the table, at least theoretically speaking, feels good.
Especially after my chocolate cake faux pas the first time we met.
In my highly anxious, exhausted state, I can’t help but think about napping with Sir. Naps are a big deal for both of us, but snuggle-naps are always better and especially with the ones you love. I think about other things, about the differences I once thought we had and how similar we really are, like our mutual love for pizza. Perhaps fortunately for my waistline, double helpings of “post-sex pizza” will not be a thing.
I smile to myself right up until the thought enters my mind,
Well pizza is made for sharing, and you…
I shake off that thought – there is already more than enough sharing of me going on!
It would undoubtedly be good, sleeping together without actually sleeping together, but could we do that thing? That would be the real question!