It's 9:30 pm and my new glasses are on to try and stop the fatigue that bombards my eyeballs as I write out yet another 300 word essay exam answer. I have written 30 so far, with a further 8 fully coloured illustrations and I am tired. I don't care any more, but there are 170 to go. So the glasses stay, a placebo to convince me that my apathy and headaches have more to do with my sight than the fact that I can think of a million things I'd rather be doing. I am hunched slightly in my chair, because the chair is too high and my back too long and the stretch in the lower thoracic muscles is starting to burn. I will do yoga tonight to compensate while my body whines.
Pegged to the wire directly above my screen is a pencil drawing of Pont Alexandre with its beautiful lamp posts and La Tour in the background and I feel a million miles away from ever being there again. The cool wet air and the smudgy clouds over the chalk white barely tangible. To the right of the picture, strung over the same wire is a pair of red footprints, smudged ever so slightly at the biggest toe that belong to the Elfling when she was a baby. I didn't date the picture, and I had a moment of not being sure if it was actually Elfling or Monkey when I hung it, but it doesn't matter. It's a symbol, more than anything.
Underneath the Parisian scene and the footprints are innumerable kindy pictures brought home crumpled in bags to admire that are bright swirls of primary colours and smudged soft pastilles. A bright red kite with a trailing blue string and a Welsh coal miner's lamp to the left.
Above the bottom string is another one, strung with lanterns and Christmas craft which is hidden by pen and ink drawings of the medial orbital wall, posterior orbit (globe removed), medial nasal cavity, cross section of the spinal cord and the cerebellum all there to remind me. I think they're decorative in their own right - or would be if my apathy were not so pronounced.
Behind them all is my gilded map of the world with the ability to scratch off the paint of everywhere I have visited. There are great swathes of golden paint left on my map and I cannot wait until I can scrape more of it under my fingernails.
Next to my computer, to the left is my lamp with its warm white glow through the fluted shade. Plain matte silver stand that does all that is supposed to and nothing it is not. Propped up against it, the Santa photo from 2010 in its red leather frame. Anterior to both, becoming superheated by the vent from my notebook is Gray's Anatomy, leather bound, 15th edition with silver pages. The ribbon place holder within the axilla. Under the book is my tablet, closed and unloved at present as I instead stick to pen and paper.
To the right, posteriorly are two galvanised buckets filled with flotsam - pens, pencils, staplers, my glasses case. At least 4 erasers still in their wrappings, a sharpener. Receipts. Anterior to these is my mouse pad and tiny mouse, my pen and my phone which buzzes occasionally with facebook notifications that I've yet to turn off or reminders for things that I've long since forgotten. Then anterior again is my workbook, filled with exam answers that I hope are acceptable, because I have so little guidance about what they should actually be. I will be showing it to friends who have passed to see if there's anything I'm doing wrong at some point.
To the left and right of the desk are my new white bookcases. Gradually being filled from the piles around the house that previously had no home, and storing up my collection of study notes and journals. My big travel book closest to me on the left, for those times when I need to sit with a Matilda-esque behemoth on my lap and ruin my neck by craning through its pages of beautiful pictures. One day soon I hope to add an atlas.
Behind me is the new piano, bought for the girls' lessons, but also for me to sit at quietly when they are in bed and flex my fingers over so that I can enjoy the sound. I am desperate to learn how to play, in a way I never once appreciated at 11 when it was offered, and so I am gradually, and poorly, teaching myself while under the guise of supervising the Elfling's practise sessions.
Behind and to my left is the little Ikea table and chairs where the babies eat their dinner when it is too cold or wet to eat outside at the dinner table. It is permanently sticky and the paint is coming off in places, but it makes me happy. They all 3 of them sit there, telling stories, or jokes that make no sense and giggling together, and even when they are all tucked up safely in bed it is still happy and giggly there.
And in the middle of it all is me. Wearing all black so that with my hair out I look like a cat burglar in bare feet. Everything stretchy because I hate anything digging into me when I'm studying. Toenails half painted and fingernails ragged from too much biting while I'm studying. Procrastinating with 13 tabs open in my browser and only 4 of them related to study. My fitness pal chiding me because I've not eaten enough calories today but not being hungry, and slightly addicted to the feature that tells me how little I'll weigh in 5 weeks if I keep it up. Recognising that not eating will make it harder to study but liking that my hips protrude again too much to let it go. Recognising that that in itself is not particularly healthy but not caring.