02 December 2016

The secret chord

The alarm clock has been waking me up at 3:30 for the last month: baseball games, the election, trips to London, Glasgow, Bristol. Today, because it was so early, I took a taxi to the city centre. The car came early, around 4 and it was cold outside, minus two, the driver said. The streets were empty and dark and I thought about Letchu, our Malaysian taxi driver, and Genehsa on the dashboard of that car. It's been three years now. He had us to his house once, for dinner and the girls played in the park across the street.

The trains are on time or late, but it hasn't mattered actually. In London, I've sat on the 8th floor of the Institute of Education, going line-by-line through a funding bid, and taking time out here and there to go to Pret to get coffee or down past Totttenham Court Road to a pizza restuarant, where I get a slice and then stand on the road, eating it and watching the city go past. That project is done now, I think: there are five or six people left to check it and see what can be done to make sure the costs are maximised for the university. 

The visa application for 2017 has hung over my head for years, but two Monday's again, the Certficate of Sponorship came through and then on Wednesday, the day that my PhD student passed her upgrade viva, I sat in the finance office with the credit card and watched nervously as two payments went through £3000 and £3320. Five people, main applicant and four dependents. I put everything in an envelope and went to send it off. I ran into the other American on campus, Trump had won, yes, I hugged her, but this, holding the envelope, this is good news. This is the best news. Forget Trump for a moment.

I was hoping for a rush of satisfaction that never came, like after my PhD when I jut sat at home and drank whiskey for a night, angry rather than relieved. It's my fault for not putting too much importance on these things, to view my future only as various obstacles to overcome. You can't just keep flirting to pass the time, to put of the inevitable.

Nothing buys happiness though and we got the letters to go do our fingerprints and biometerics at the Post Office. I was angry with the man at the window for treating me poorly and then with the girls for dawdling, and then with myself for choosing such a difficult path. It was done and we went out into the German Market up on New Street. There was nothing left to do but wait. The money saved is just a number and there is still all the usually concerns to worry about. My salary still doesn't really cover our living expenses, isn't it, I say, and it's true and not true because I work so much on other things and there is always money coming in. It's an excuse really. I go to bed without anything to say.