That's Life ( Pt 2 )
There were few people in the park to my great relief, probably because although it was sunny, it was far too cold, also being a Monday morning most people would be getting on with their lives. Needing to think of the welfare of my son was my first priority, but he seemed quite happy as he lay in his pram gazing at the sky and trees.
Finding a park bench I sat and contemplated where I'd go next, I gazed at the entrance I just walked in, knowing I needed to get away from the area before I turned around and went home, but I couldn't get a bus, not with a pram. I decided that a walk into the city would be the best idea, there I could get lost in among the crowds of shoppers and I needed to get rid of the confusion that was going on in my head.
It was only about a mile and a half into the city from where we lived, so not too far to go. For the first time I felt liberated knowing I wasn't going running to friends or back to mum and dad's. I had a feeling that that's where my husband would think I'd gone, having visions of him phoning mum and dad up to beg me to come back, went through my mind. It did worry me that my parents would be concerned, especially my mum who I imagined would be upset and wondering where I was, but before I phoned to let them know where I was, I needed to get settled in somewhere so I could tell them I was okay.
Knowing I was going it alone and having to depend on my own actions, I began the trek into Bristol. The city was packed with people on their endless search for bargains in the January sales. Shops and stores had my mind in an endless whirlwind of pushing and shoving, I didn't feel like a member of society as I melted into the crowds, in fact it was like wandering through a hostile land filled with landmines, I felt like an annoying fly that was getting in other peoples way, everyone seemed forceful as they made their purchases, shoppers reminded me of penguins all diving into pools of water, eager to be the first in.
Needing some air, I made my way outside wondering why some people found the need to become so aggressive over some item that had been greatly reduced, I'd never understood it myself and found the whole experience scary.
By lunch time I was getting hungry and tired of the endless and meaningless walking. “Should I go home?” I asked myself, wondering if this whole escapade was futile and pointless.
“Definitely No!” Came back the answer in my head. “Every move you make to become independent is beneficial to your state of mind.”
My son awoke from sleeping and needed feeding and changing, so I went into one of the big stores that had nice clean toilets and changed his nappy. I then decided to get a coffee and a hot dog, it was a cold but sunny day, which was very bright for the time of year, it was a respite from the dark places I'd been used to of late. There was a bench close by, so I was able to feed my son, after I'd enjoyed my food and a hot drink.
When I'd finished eating and looked at my watch, it was about 3 pm. Panic suddenly struck me, wondering where I'd be spending the night...again that feeling of the unknown troubled me, I needed to sort myself out, wandering the shops wasn't going to get me a bed for the night.
Trying to get my head together, I thought to myself! Now think Jenny!Then I remembered my health visitor's words and just had an idea that maybe she could help.
It's alright sleeping in doorways and scavenging for food when you're on your own, but not with a baby. My health visitor was the only other person that had seen my predicament at home, having first hand experience, so knowing how concerned she'd been for me and my son, I was starting to feel a lot happier now I'd made a decision to go speak to her.
It was time to make the journey to what I considered was the safe haven of the clinic. The walk back was extremely tiring, as increasing my pace I soldiered on with determination. My thoughts interchanged between going home and the clinic, though going home I knew would be mad after coming this far.
My son appeared preoccupied in his own musings, but then I wondered if babies actually gave thought to much at all. He seemed to gaze right through me and up at the sky with his huge, piercing eyes that squinted at the bright sunlight, searching and probing his surroundings. I smiled at his purity and in that moment, fraught and tired had the sensation of guilt washing over me. The sooner I got to the clinic the better.
Finally I arrived and walked through the door. It was an old building, but heated well for the time of year. People were sat around waiting to be seen by their doctors, their faces serious, or gazing at magazines.
It was moving towards late afternoon and beginning to get colder, so I was glad of somewhere warm, though I could feel my protective mask becoming crippled by my exhaustion and state of mind. All eyes seemed to turn towards me as I entered. 'Why do they stare like that? ' I thought! 'Haven't they ever seen a woman pushing a pram before?'
My initial impression was that the morning's clinic which was full of Mothers and babies, was completely different to the afternoon's surgery, which had become an unwelcoming environment that left me wanting to turn and walk away, even though I'd been there many times before, except not in the afternoon.
But deep down a part of me was intent on speaking to my health visitor. I wheeled the pram over to a spare seat and sat down, not even thinking to go up to the reception and announce myself. The receptionist appeared engaged in her work, it became apparent to me that she was the only person that hadn't seen me walk in, or at least that's how it felt.
Normally in the mornings my health visitor would be walking around, but I'd not seen her. I just didn't want to talk to anyone but her...I know it sounds stupid now I think about it, but it was my state of mind that sent me into panic mode anytime someone spoke to me.
It was now nearing 5pm and I was still sitting with my own thoughts and wondering what to do next, when the receptionist said; “Excuse me!”
I looked up and felt the butterflies in my stomach returning ones again. I hadn't even noticed that my son was crying, I was so lost in thought.
“Is your baby okay? Can I help you?” She asked, a look of concern on her face.
“Um! I don't know...Um! I was just wondering if my health visitor was around.” I felt on edge. Then just at that moment the door opened and it was her.
She saw me immediately. “Jenny! How are you? Have you an appointment?” She smiled but looked worried.
Gazing at her, I couldn't hold back, the tears began to well up in my eyes and before I knew it I was weeping and feeling sick. My health visitor took me straight away into an empty room and got me a glass of water. I sat down and told her everything. I will never forget how caring and understanding she was, giving me a box of hankies and telling me the best thing, was to take us to a safe house, I'd never heard of such a place at that point and wondered what it would be like, but if I had a bed for the night, then my health visitor was like an angel come to my rescue. Telling me to wait there, she had a couple of phone calls to make, but shouldn't be long and would be straight back.
Keeping her promise, my health visitor returned and told me she'd found a refuge that would take me in. I was so relieved as we wheeled the pram out to her car, the night air hit me straight away, it was starting to get dark and I was beginning to feel hungry, thinking of the evening meal that I hadn't prepared and wondering what state of mind my husband would be in when he returned to an empty house and found my note. I was in for a long night.
To be continued...