Endless March

So I’m back in the doctor’s office. My doctor is kind and affirming and I like her a lot. We talk about how happy I am to be out of the horrendous job with the hateful multinational, a job that I knew I was doing appallingly badly but could not summon the energy to do better. She nods and smiles behind her mask and I nod and smile behind mine.

We talk about anti- depressants and I say I think I would like to try them again, at least to see me through the weeks until my appointments with the gynecologist and ADHD shrink. She asks how I’ve found anti- depressants in the past and I sigh. I say that I never find them very helpful, that Prozac just made me numb and stole my libido and that ideally I’d like to try one of the drugs least likely to have sexual side- effects because having an active sexuality is vital to me, literally. She nods as if understanding and writes me a prescription: when I Google the new drug it appears it’s even more likely to cause sexual dysfunction than Prozac.

I sit on my bed in an untidy muddle of duvet, pillows and cushions and obsessively read forum posts and Web MD articles, trying to find one that doesn’t just tell me to take the pill at the opposite end of the day from when I plan on having sex and to always communicate with my partner. I feel like weeping. I don’t think I’m going to take them. I said I’d take them, I said I’d try. I don’t know. I don’t fucking know.

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At least my cat is cuddly. He’s lying on my torso as I type this, his front paw stretched out and resting possessive on my arm. Lately the pigeons are back roosting on the balcony railings of my apartments on my street, and I lift him onto the kitchen windowsill when I’m cooking breakfast so he can trill at the birds as they coo. I sing him songs about dinner, and we Eskimo kiss on the sofa in the evenings while I listen to podcasts. My apartment is never tidy but it’s cleaner than it’s ever been from all the extra sweeping and cleaning and wiping you have to do when you share your living space with an animal.

Sometimes I look at him, at the boundary where the black of his tuxedo meets the white, dappled with longer white hairs like weeds in between two thick hedges, at his long yellowing left canine, and I think, this is so weird. There’s an animal in my house. Why is there an animal in my house? Most nights and many mornings he will crawl under my duvet and sleep behind my knees, or on the curve of my lap as I lie on my side, and it’s nice not to sleep alone. My favourite thing is stroking him under the chin: it’s as if there’s a button there which immediately switches on the purring machine, and sometimes he will reciprocate by lathing my wrist and the mons of my thumb clean with his raspy pink tongue. He’s very cute, possibly not very bright and a bit stinky, and I love him very much.

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Noone can understand how the Germans have fucked the Pandemic response up so entirely. By the time it’s announced that vaccinations with the Astra Zeneca formula will be suspended I am on what feels like my last nerve. I never stop feeling happy for my friends and family as they announce their vaccination appointments but my vaccine compersion is increasingly mixed with a shameful mix of jealousy and despair. It’s not inconceivable that I won’t be vaccinated until the end of the year, cases are rising, and I am beyond exhausted with the Hall Monitor tone that is taken online when anyone has the audacity to say that they are struggling and want things to go back to normal, back to the days when we could, if we chose to, browse in second hand clothing shops, eat food from buffets, hug acquaintances and fuck strangers in kink clubs while wearing revealing rubber costumes (although I am not going to say that bit out loud because the Covid prudes would have conniptions- very, very boring conniptions).

I’m not the only one. It could be much worse. We’re all suffering. But it feels endless, and I sometimes feel hopeless, and seeing people begin to plan their post- vaccination lives while I try to navigate the hopelessness is sometimes unbearable. And then that passes, and I go for a run, and cuddle my cat, and eat gnocchi, and another day between now and When It’s All Over is done! But life is so short, and this is such a sad and deflating way to look at the few days we are allotted.

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I miss talking to Monster. We had been talking for six months, six months of filthy phone sex and shared kinks, injokes, post morteming our days, slutty gifts and cat memes. It is weird when I try and explain why I paused things, especially to the couple of people I’ve told about him who are not kinky. I can’t say ‘well, he used to ritually call me the most genuinely awful names and describe treating me dreadfully, and I absolutely fucking loved it, but it doesn’t feel sensible to do that sort of thing when I’m feeling this glum because brains can’t be trusted to know the difference between affectionate insults and real ones’. I’m not able for the smiles and blank stares right now.

Moreover, it is impossible to explain that, while the relationship we have is intimate, that I think of him as a partner and that we would have met by now if travel had been allowed, he is obviously not my boyfriend, and never will be; that I have had so many relationships with men who overpromised and underdelivered when it came to emotional support, and that I would rather enjoy what he is happy and able to offer up to its limits and enjoy the fact that he has the self- awareness to know what that is, which is in my experience really fucking rare! I know that monogamous friends particularly think that I should want more, and the thing is, I do- but it doesn’t need to be from him. Because I’m poly. That’s literally why I’m poly.

But sad brains sometimes want boyfriend stuff from unboyfriends, or that’s my fear anyway. So we’re on hiatus. And, considering that he was the one thing I could rely on to make me laugh, that kinda sucks. But this will pass, and he’ll be there when it does.

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