I went straight past my usual turning, and headed back towards home, with a detour via a local supermarket to buy food for tomorrow. As I walked around the shop, the pain got worse. It kept getting worse, to the familiar point where all I can do is think the things I intend to do, round and round in circles, in case I get distracted and forget what I'm doing. "Water, pasta. Water, pasta. Water, pasta." There was no pasta. Just the same isles, again and again. Crisps, soft drinks, biscuits, cereal, crips... the isles repeating themselves, mocking my mental processes. Eventually I ventured into the corner that the pasta was tucked away in, a little frantic that I would never make it out of the product-lined maze.
On the way to the checkout I grabbed a bag of oats, telling myself that a hot breakfast might help, and one without milk at that. Impatiently, I queued for the one open checkout, only to hold up the line as I fumbled for my wallet, and tried to pack my oats into a bag already filled with water, pasta, towel and gym clothes.
My music player swapped albums - the Who came on now, their peaceable yet angry, loud yet melodic songs suiting my mood down to the ground. I headed out of the shop, and back to my bicycle. Suddenly, my gut stabbed harder. I clutched at myself, making sure to stay on my feet, because I knew if I sat down I was going to be there for minutes. The temperature had dropped down near freezing again; the weekend's summery treat forgotten, as if were February once more, and ten to fifteen minutes tucked into the corner of a building wasn't a pretty prospect.
As I straightened up again, a gurgle; I wasn't going to make it home. I hadn't planned on stopping by Henry and Hannah's house, but it would be unavoidable now. I pressed the buzzer, and told Henry "It's Ian", too preoccupied to explain. Once inside I apologised, and took care of my business. On my way out, a conversation buzzed around me; I joined in, but subconsciously, on autopilot. Something about work, and something about heat packs for my gut. Feeling guilty for stopping in for such a selfish reason, my second apology was met with charitable rebuttals, and Henry walked with me to the shop.
I could barely think at all on the rest of the journey home. The Who did my thinking for me, telling me that nobody knew about being the bad, sad man behind blue eyes, and assuring me that they wouldn't get fooled again. As I finally swung on to my front patio, I assessed my sensations again. The pain was down a little, but I couldn't tell how much. I headed into the house to lie down.
Actually, I remembered that my doctor recommended that I try a pill called Colofac again, which I have some left of, while cycling that last section, so I've taken some of that.
I've laid down enough now - I should put my oats, pasta and water away and cook some lentils.