My Holiday

I’ve blogged before about Marian Keyes and how flippantly she seems to view OCD. (The book was Last Chance Saloon, and I really enjoyed it, OCD jokes excepted). Well, my audible credit rolled round again and I thought I’d give her another shot. And I’m glad I did.
Rachel’s Holiday is about Rachel Walsh, an Irish New York resident who enjoys recreational drugs. One night, she goes a bit too far and ends up having her stomach pumped. After that, she gets carted off to the Cloisters, an Irish Priory-type thing. Treating it as a holiday, she comes to terms with herself. It’s well worth a read.
It’s brought back memories for me as my time as an inpatient at the Priory. Whenever Rachel describes the Cloisters, I picture the Priory. I thank my lucky stars that I had a room to myself, unlike poor Rachel. But it ran deeper than that.
I was very lonely before I was admitted. I had come back from university and had no friends left in Bromley. I had just split up with my boyfriend of 7 years, who went on the rebound who forbade him from talking to me. My siblings are all gregarious and extroverted and had lived of their own. I was very, very alone.
Then 20th December saw me settling into my bedroom at the Priory. After a few tears, I went into the television room and there were sweets and oranges on the table. “Help yourself,” twinkled one of the inmates. I helped myself, then asked her why they were there (it was Hanukkah). Turns out that weren’t her sweets, but someone else’s, but that said sweet owner “wouldn’t mind”. And they didn’t.
That was the start. I made friends! We went out for NYE, we went out to Hayes High Street, we stayed in and watched television. I taught one inmate (the sweetie lady, in fact) how to purl. We made friends on Facebook. I even dated one of them.
Well, my social life took off and we eventually drifted. I accepted that I would never see these people again. Until…
I met Sally again. Completely by chance. At a church in Eltham. I didn’t recognise her, but she recognised me. Cue joyful reunion. A few weeks after we had met, she showed me a card I had given her upon her readmittance. It was a picture of Roald Dahl’s BFG and in it, I had pledged always being there. Of course, people drift and whatnot, but now we’re back in touch, I’m happy that I’ve fulfilled my promise to her.
What is the point of this blog post? Well, it’s to recommend Marian Keyes, to teach you not to judge a book by its cover (literally), and to tell you to cherish your friends. A bit cheesy, but why not text someone you’ve not spoken to for ages and see how they are. Not only will it help you with any loneliness, but you may well be helping them too.

One thought on “My Holiday

  1. AddaiAndMari says:

    It’s tricky, isn’t it? Even those close to us have private lives (or areas of their public lives) of which we know little or nothing. It seems easier than ever to have a great many acquaintances, but few real friends. I feel many would do well to heed your advice – contact is often welcomed rather than deemed intrusive.


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