“Did you hear Mary down the road got hit by lightning?”
I nearly choke on my coffee. “Oh my god, is she okay?” I have no idea who Mary Down the Road is. I don’t know who this shopkeeper is either, but this is the first thing he says as he checks my items at the till.
“Ah yeah, sure she’s grand. She was doing yoga”.
I stare at him, confused. “Oh ohhh yoga. I see”. I don’t really see.
“The house is in a wreck though”.
“Oh you mean her house was struck?”
The grey haired man squints at me. “But sure isn’t that what I said? Mary down the road was hit by lightning”.
I walk back to the car and meet Cathal there. He catches the chocolate bar I toss at him and smiles. “You look amused”, he chirps.
“Jaysus Cathal, did you hear Mary Down the Road got struck by lightning? She’s okay though because she was doing yoga”.
And similar to my own reaction earlier, my friend struggles not to choke on his food and then we’re both laughing. Because he gets it. He knows that I’m not laughing at the woman’s misfortune. Nor am I mocking the shopkeeper. I’m laughing at the idea that doing yoga saves people from being struck by lightning. I’m laughing at the complete randomness of the topic of conversation. I’m laughing because it feels good. Because I’ve missed this.
And all too soon, it’s Monday again and I’m no longer laughing with my best friend. The memory of Saturday is fading away.
And all too soon, I’m sitting alone again in the canteen at work.
The other girls have shown up.
They’re talking about the TV shows I don’t watch and the books I haven’t read.
They’re talking about people I don’t know and places I’ve never been to.
They’re talking about…
What’s this? The conversation ebbs away
What’s this? I see my chance.
My chance to get to know them.
My chance to fit in.
But oh, what will I say?
I clear my throat.
I start to speak.
“So the other day I went to the shop-”
“Is that the one at the Square or the one on Main Street?” one of my co-workers asks.
“Ummm… the one on M-”
And suddenly I’m cut off again.
Suddenly my chance is gone.
“That shop at the Square is so odd… The woman who runs it is pure crazy…”
The conversation turns to the antics of the crazy woman who owns the shop at the Square.
They’re talking now about people I don’t know and places I’ve never been to.
I sigh and turn back to my food.
Oh well… it’s just a few more days ’til the weekend anyway.
And then it’s just five days ’til the weekend after that. And after that.
Maybe I’ll take up yoga.
Hope you’re all well. I thought I’d just give a bit of background info on that story/poem. Recently I’ve moved away from home and started my first job after college. Things are good now, but at the start I found things kinda tough. Before the move, I was so excited about it all. However, when I finally moved out and began work, I was riddled with panic attacks. I guess everything hit me at once- my family felt far away; I wasn’t sure what was expected of me at work; I was scared things would go badly. On top of this, I found it hard to fit in with coworkers- they were lovely but it just felt like I’d nothing in common with them. I found myself constantly thinking back to the previous weekend when I’d met up with my best friends- everything had felt so easy; it felt like another world.
As I said, things are much better now. I feel more settled in my job and I’ve gotten to know my co-workers better. And I know home isn’t the other end of the world and my family are just a phone call away. I’m also fitting in time for morning exercise and healthy eating and looking into ways to meet new people like joining a music group or going to group fitness classes in the town. Basically what I’m saying- things are looking up! :)
Hope you all had a great weekend :)
Thanks for reading