I am still staring down both barrels of a bug, a viral infection if you like...
On Wednesday, sitting forlorn at my desk in the office, feeling sorry for myself after a hectic day on Tuesday (more laters...), I was busy writing notes to others, saying what I wanted to say.
Reason being, after over two weeks of melancholy and a throat that feels as if a wild otter has been stocking up on dry sticks ready for the winter and stuffing spiky twigs down my throat (!), I had decided that I would aim for a day of total rest for my voice. This following a doctor's advice given to me last year when I was suffering a similar malaise.
"Rest your voice completely, Fhina. No talking!"
For Fhina, that takes some doing, I can tell yer!
(Incidentally, my husband has been smiling and singing to himself ever since I mentioned taking this temporary vow of silence...)
So, in preparation, I had hand-written (in pink ink, what else?!) my first explanatory note to colleagues, setting out why I would be signing and gesticulating today rather than speaking.
My boss, the dahlink wag, asked me if I knew any Makaton?! I didn't but I sharp Googled it, and I figure that if I want my shoes heeled by a deaf and mute cobbler any time soon, I'll be well ready!
I was trying to get on with some work on the computer, having already signalled by e-mails to my close colleagues my intention du jour to take a vow of silence, when another colleague/friend ambled by...
She gabbled away, as we do, asking for my advice on a piece of internal work we are both engaged upon. I flushed and signed apology, mouthing the words... I held up my first note, and scribbled another, words patchwork-style on plain paper, setting out - briefly - what we needed to do.
Rosie-Roo apologised profusely and backed away, sorry to have troubled me. This made me feel sad again, like I was some faded Drama Queen withdrawing from the world at large: "I vont to be alone...", she lamented.
I got on with the day's work, getting quite a bit done with so few interruptions, but still feeling rotten and pretty isolated from the usual witty repartee of others. Colleagues smiled widely and nodded kindly all about me, showing their sympathy with my plight and selective mutism.
After lunch, when I had chosen my provisions and paid for them through a self-service checkout so I didn't have to silently mouth 'please' or 'thank you' to a member of the retail team, I slithered back to my desk festooned with supplies of Vitamin C, TCP, Ibuprofen, Soluble Aspirin, and throat lozenges.
Can't tell you what I smelled like after gargling with TCP, but I have a GBF who swears by it. Needless to say, I won't be getting many romantic offers this week...
Rosie-Roo sidled up to my desk again, advising me what she had been up to viz our work task, smiling while sliding a tiny pink and lilac bouquet in cellophane over the desk to me... She thanked me quietly for some words of succour I'd offered her last Friday, and said she hoped I'd feel better soon.
I took the flowers from her, lost for words, tears pricking my eyes, wanting so to speak.
I was mouthing, how lovely of you, how sweet, how kind, how very unnecessary, given that the words I shared with Rosie were no more than I would offer anyone on any day. Heck, I might even be dropping my own worries into her listening ear very soon - It's been such a stressful time for us at work, for long months, with more to come...
I put my thoughts and thanks in writing to her, sending an e-mail full of my warm wishes for her, my belief in her great strengths and fortitude to face what lies ahead of us.
How often do we do that, mes bloggy loves?
Put our thoughts in writing, on paper, to others. We sometimes mouth platitudes in this life, don't we?
Maybe I'm wrong and, as bloggers, we write even more than I imagine, but I felt that even though I had little voice I could still say what I wanted to say in writing, even if we sometimes find we have to be more careful with what we actually put down in black and white, so it isn't misconstrued or taken in vain...
My own thoughts go to my late mother, who once told me that, when she was younger, although the doctors could find no rhyme or reason for it, she hadn't been able speak for two years. Then one day, she just began again.
I wish I had been able to ask her more about her condition, but being brought up in the Sixties and coming from protestant, strong, working-class stock, you didn't much discuss the war, the past, anxieties, mental health issues and other vulnerabilities.
Be safe, my friends. Travel well this weekend. Hold words and signs of love about you like warm, velvet stoles...