“Don’t you think, you know, you should maybe consider taking some time off.”
“Mmm,” Melanie grunted disapprovingly.
“I don’t think you realise how much you take on all of the time and this is just huge for you to cope with. Mel, you look tired. Seriously. We are all so concerned for you.”
“I don’t know.”
“Just ask at work, they are going to understand completely. They will. And you will feel so much better for it.”
“I just hate letting people down.”
“For God’s sake you aren’t letting anyone down!”
“I just think I’ll worry that I am though.”
I knew as Cassie was speaking with that same affirmative tone that I’d heard so many times before she meant what she said. It was like being spoken to by a teacher at school, a decision-making boss, or, worse, my mother. As irritating as it made me, I also realised that such seriousness in Cassie’s voice meant that the care was so genuine and that my situation was probably more serious than I treated it.
I knew I buried most issues under the carpet. I knew it was a trait that I would always possess. Yet I struggled to see quite how this proved to be such an issue to so many people around me. An interest almost. I failed to see that my getting annoyed at their care was wrong and how I was extremely lucky to have so many people looking out for me, irritating me daily when all I wanted to be was alone.
“Here you go, another cup of the good stuff will sort you out.” Cassie passed me a perfect cup of tea, just how I liked it.
Cassie always knew to leave me when I fell into one of my unique zone out moments, but she always knew how to welcome me back into the world with such warmth.
“Here, I’ll stay for another one of these then grab a bottle on my way back, shall I?”
After consuming our warm brews, Cassie left for the long list of chores that her Sunday had in store for her, but she was sure to be back by six o’clock, prompt as ever. Her hugs were so tight and true that it left me wiping the tears that I didn’t know existed away from my face. I had finally broken a little and began to feel ashamed for it when the doorbell rang, again.
“One moment!” I shouted, straightening myself up and powdering my nose as fast as I could so the guest wouldn’t notice my sadness.
I hoped it would be the postman but then remembered it was a Sunday. Then I prayed for a delivery man, the milkman working extra, a supermarket van driver for an order that I had sent for while drunk and had then forgotten about. I hoped it would be anybody except for who I knew that it would be. Somebody else offering their deep concern for my wellbeing and somebody else wishing to sit for hours telling me that I needed to take some time out, to rest, to look after myself for once in my life.