The Meeting, by Diane Lillis

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Looking out at the rolling hills… smelling the freshly ground coffee… Am I in heaven? I can smell the fresh air. What does fresh air even smell like? I can’t explain it, but I can smell it. There’s also something sweet in the air. Maybe cookies? I don’t even feel it initially. Not until my eyes send a signal to my brain. “There’s hot coffee on your skin you know, you might want to sort that out”. I was caught out by the screams of one of the kids running around in the garden. Not an unhappy one. A typical toddler scream. The kind that makes you smile once your mind has registered the event. You know, after you have jumped out of your skin and spilled your coffee on the white top you chose because you were meeting a friend. The kind of top you typically wouldn’t choose otherwise you would be changing it approximately 30 seconds after your toddler realizes it’s free of colour.

Anyway, I digress. I’m back. I’m back in my world. “Would you like to try a peanut butter scone?”. The soft rhythmic American accent of my friend Carrie. I’m never sure of where to place an American accent, other than a New Yorker or a Texan. Carrie is from Chicago. I love listening to Carrie speak. Her voice sounds very calming to me, but also a little bit like she’s about to sing. This is in stark contrast to the harsh Scottish accents that typically surround me. We’re a friendly bunch the Scottish, but you maybe wouldn’t know that on first our meeting.

“I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong Carrie. I’m doing all the things. I’m taking the Ashwanga, is that how you say it? No, ach you know what I mean. I’m practicing my yoga every day; I’m doing the breath work. I’m eating the carbohydrates and the fats. I’m putting on weight. I’m ticking all the boxes. It’s not working”…

There’s quiet, so I fill it. “You know what I mean? I have a bereavement therapist, I have fixed things at work, I am doing all the things”. There’s still quiet, so I fill it. “Am I ticking too many boxes?”

There’s quiet. This time I don’t fill it and it hits me like a train. “I’m not really doing it am I?” I was never really doing it. It was another chore on the endless list of tasks in my day. I was too busy trying to be mindful to be mindful. Dammit!.

Did I even take a second to enjoy the yoga I was so stressed about making a part of my day? The yoga I wouldn’t let Lewis be part of. The yoga that if Lewis wouldn’t sleep, would eat away at me that I couldn’t do? Did I even consider taking a breath before it? No. As long as I had ticked it off of the list, then I had done my part. I could continue on as normal saying I am trying and it’s not my fault.

Bloody Carrie. She had done it again. Her silent wisdom, understanding eyes and beautiful rhythmic voice. A voice not speaking, but drawing out my poison. A poison that I thought had rooted in me from the passing of my brother. I was soon to find out the roots ran a little deeper than that. But that is for the next few chapters, I guess. For now… “yes please, I would love some of that peanut butter scone”.

by Diane Lillis

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