They’re all so sleek and clean and shiny, these new feller-me-lads in my life, and they’re using it to lure me in, seduce me, make me fall for them and their glossy good looks. Even just joking about falls feels wrong, the dratted MS has already had me crash-landing inelegantly onto quite enough stony pavements, usually head-first. I have the scars to prove it. But you get my drift, at least I hope so.
This madness might be to do with the time of year. All the leaf buds, the birdsong, the marginally less glacial Edinburgh daytime temperatures. I’m not even using my electric blanket at the moment. Wild living, or what?
Or maybe I’m simply just a very shallow person: the new guys came in a fancy outside wrapping, all dressed up and alluring. I can’t deny I was impressed. Maybe there was even some heady after-shave involved, though I’m not sure. I’m so faithless, I might actually hate myself. Zim’s been good to me, how I could betray him with another?
Yet I’m afraid I have betrayed him with another, another who came in a pristine package without the dust and scars covering Zim. What kind of faithless wanton wretch am I? This isn’t a nice feeling; yet I still fear it won’t be enough to stop me, I kind of know that now.
Zim’s been good to me, kept me going when my legs were buckling under me and my dodgy balance had me veering and tilting wildly, struggling not to appear drunk, fearful of what a casual observer might think of me. Gave me a safe haven when the chips weren’t just down, they were scattered all over the floor, possibly irretrievably, making me worry if I’d ever be able to pick them up again, yet another victim of my shaky grip and lack of balance that makes it difficult to hold onto anything.
Confused and exasperated?
I feel about Zim the same way Stevenson did about his poor, benighted donkey Modestine in Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. Grateful, but also confused and a teeny bit exasperated. When Stevenson talks about urging her forward, ‘like an unruly ship through the open’, I can relate without much difficulty to that mixture of pride and annoyance.
I’ve now reached the part in the book where Stevenson and Modestine are still getting to know each other. It must be said that Zim came into my life by a far more prosaic route than Stevenson’s steed into his. The pages of Amazon can’t really compare to 19th century Monastier market place in rural France. Stevenson got together with Modestine ‘for the consideration of sixty-five francs and a glass of brandy.’ Zim became mine for a straightforward monetary consideration involving Prime delivery. No alcohol involved.
Zim has changed my life though, much as Modestine does for Stevenson during his time in France. There were all too many people who looked at me oddly before Zim came into my life, as if they had a few question marks in their minds about me, suspected me of being drunk. Zim’s rescued me from all that, and I’m grateful to him. As soon as people see him, their faces change, soften and relax, then they’re usually kind to me. All judgement suspended at the mere sight of him.
Yet, if I’m honest the relationship’s been rocky for a while. We lean on each other too much. Lean on each other all too literally, as well as all that figurative stuff. So much mutual dependence has made us a little co-dependent, as if he’s no longer quite right emotionally either, has maybe even come out in sympathy with me. I want to rescue him, often get the feeling it’s like that for him too. Therapists have warned me about this type of relationship.
Zim and I both seem to know that we’ve been clinging to each other too much, and that the guilt is playing a sick part in the deception. It’s heightened our emotions, though not necessarily in a good way.
Maybe I should just tell you what I’ve done. Okay, here goes. I’ve fallen for some flashy Nordic walking poles. It’s just that I don’t feel I look so ‘wrong’ with them, so obviously disabled and a bit broken.
With the poles, I could – okay, bit of a stretch, but possible – be an ordinary outdoors walker striding out for exercise and fresh air, who just needs a little bit of support. I’m not, of course, but you can bet I’m still vain enough to like the idea.