On a comedown

10 Mar

And it's all gone out...When I was little we used to sing a song called ‘After the Ball was Over’, in which the protagonist slowly divested herself of body parts (in a humorous way, I hasten to add, not a grisly one) in order to get to bed. When I was small, I thought this song hilarious. When I hit my teens (refusing all attempts made by my parents to get me to sing it still) I viewed it as a metaphor of how gutted I was when the parties were over. Now, adult, I see it as a daft song from which absolutely no appropriate analogies can be drawn, but for my poor little girl, after the excitement of the past weekend I think it’s pretty much spot-on.

It’s tough not to be centre of attention any more (and even tougher, I would imagine, when your mother’s birthday follows hot on the heels – actually, scrap that, snapping at the heels more like, of yours!), and very tough to return to reality. I feel for her, painfully, and have to balance that with the necessary exhortation that she ‘calm down’ and try not to take it so much to heart. I’d never tell her to feel less deeply; and only growing up teaches you how to feel deeply and manage the after effects. Little girl, she has a way to go til then. And really, do I ever manage it, even now? Or am I, like all adults, just now better at emotional dissembling? Probably.

I remember the feeling so well from my own later childhood: anticipation building to the explosion of the event; then the next morning, when the sun and I were rising as normal to continue a normal day, the knot of suppressed tears sitting just beneath the hollow of my throat for hours; and the desperate wish to turn back time.

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