More than a week has passed since my last post and nothing much has really happened nor changed. Ollie, my dear Corgi, still refuses to be toilet-trained and I am still holed up in my room. At this very moment, I am actually spraying with disinfectant, rather vigorously, a patch on my duvet where Ollie may or may not have just generously deposited something reminiscent of a cookie. The disinfectant does not seem to work as the deposit appears to be more solid than it looks. I cover my nostrils, and scan around the room for tissue. None is to be found. I then slowly turn my eyes onto my bare hands. Has it really come to this? My stomach starts to churn. My vision starts to blur. I bow down my head and accept the inevitable. I reach out slowly, but I then hear a knock on the door.
Once again, as always, my dad, in shining armour and Primark flip flops, rushes in to save the day. Fret not, he says, for a mop is about to be introduced into the scene. I give out a sigh of relief, and slump onto my chair. The hour-long battle between man and poo has, I hope, concluded. But then, I feel something wet. I raise from my chair and look. There is a yellow puddle. It turns out that while the battle is over, the war is yet to finish. Ollie, as poised as ever, gives us a dainty wave. There is more to come, he announces, you mere subjects of mine shall never cease to labour.
I apologise if this narration above, while entirely true, seems all too domestic. This is because I have rarely been out this week. In one of the very odd occasions when I was, I ran an errand for Ollie. His plastic bone had split into two and he immediately demanded that I get him a new one. Other than that, nothing exciting really has been going on. I have spent my time almost entirely with my family at home. Tom seems to have stepped up his game this week. Usually he leaves me alone when I shower or sleep but this week I have, for most of the time, been unable to do both without him butting in at some point.
I also went to the hospital for my periodic checkup this week. My doctor, a genuinely kind old chap, was rather glad to see me again and reminded me, as Tom and I were sitting down, that it had been exactly one year since our first meeting. Before our first encounter, I had gone through a string of physicians which were, for want of a better word, incompetent, to say at the very least, and had misdiagnosed what was going on. I was on the wrong medication and did not know what was happening to me. Tom went rampant during that period, and the weather at that time was hitting consistently negative numbers in terms of degrees. Oxford was miserable, and so was I.
Am I miserable now? I am, indeed I am. But less so, I guess, for I have grown accustomed to Tom’s presence. His presence is undesirable, but sadly quite inevitable too. So sometimes I have to accept him. Embrace him even. I talk to him a lot, quite literally out loud, which annoys my family sometimes as they see only me talking to myself. Because of Tom, I am very frightened of loneliness. If I find myself lonely, Tom then decides that it is a good time to reintroduce himself. There is a fine distinction between undisturbed solitude, which everyone needs from time to time, and the melancholy of loneliness. I yearn for the tranquility of the former, but sadly can only have the latter for most of the time.
It is, of course, possible to feign normalcy and pretend Tom is not there. But it is exhausting and humans, like machines, burn out eventually. I am, in particular, an ungreased and turbine-less machine with oil leaking out and screws undone. I do wonder why Tom appeared in my life, and whether it is because of anything I have done. I do not have an answer. But I do know that Tom intends to stay for as long as he can. I cannot and will not allow that, and when I see Tom, I shall continue to raise both my middle fingers adamantly for as long as I can too. An act of admirable protest, but futile nonetheless? Alas, for that is all I can do at the moment.
Term starts soon and I have not done much work. I promise, to whatever readership I have, that when I step back to Oxford, things will get much juicier. While this will mean bidding a temporary farewell to my master Ollie, this does mean that I will resume writing about doughnuts. But more importantly, Tom will predictably want to take up an even larger role in my life, but I will fight back. I have fought back. That is what I have been doing for the past fourteen months, and the coming two will be no exception.