So I need to talk about weight. Sure, kilos applies here. As a former eat-anything-you-like-and-stay-skinny-mole, my post children back fat is, frankly, still a bit weird to me. I’m suggesting denial. Whatever. I tried on 12 1980’s vintage frocks today for a school fundraiser 1980’s themed prom, which is MY NIGHTMARE, but there I was, taking one for the team. Not one of them did up. They were all size 6-12. I’m PMSing and extra round.

This is really not even the point, however. I’m talking about the other weight. The 3 kids. The 2 dogs. The Groom. The household chores. The job. The job you wish you had. The passion that you were to much of a coward to chase. Yeah. I said the C word. The money that you need to but don’t earn so that the entire financial burden is no longer on said Groom. The job you need NEED to resign from but haven’t because you feel emotionally attached to the boss, especially after his wife and your friend died and asked you to look after him. The silver hairs of ageing. The chin hairs of ageing. The ageing. The Uncle who had surgery today to remove a massive blood clot that would have any other mere mortal all droopy faced and unable to access words, but has him sitting up in bed hours post surgery posing for pics, and irritated that his glorious ’70s mo had to be trimmed. The slow to act local football league after your eldest was king hit during a footy match on the weekend.

Today, I feel the weight of it all. Times 100. I actually feel squashed. After my job interview, which went okay I think (high praise from me to myself, I’ll have you know), I drove in to my current job to pick up paperwork. I had intended to resign. I walked in, held my breath for a second, exhaled, and opened the door. There he was, my dear almost octogenarian, at my desk, eating his lunch, almost buried under spare parts. I said hello and he looked up. I shit you not, he had a shiner. “What the HELL happened to you?!”, I demanded. Apparently he had come a cropper in the back of the factory while looking for a part. To give some context, the factory is basically a large room stacked to the rafters and all the way across with stuff. Spare parts. Boxes for packaging. Antiques. Black ink bottles to refill printer cartridges, because that’s how dire the financial position has become. Just.Shit.Everywhere. I am surprised the tripping and the eye blackening isn’t a more regular occurence.

I looked down at the well thought out resignation letter. I noticed that the earlier rain shower had munted the ink, rendering it pathetic, and undeliverable. I do try to be professional. I looked over at the old man to whose dying wife I promised that I would look after him. He didn’t look well looked after. He looked haggard, bruised, small and all but buried under his hoarded stuff. I felt a pang of shame.

He asked me why the accountant was submitting our super. I explained why. He asked me to sort it out so that we lodged the super, to save on accountants fees. My tummy lurched. He was so hellbent on reducing his overheads, he perhaps hadn’t noticed that he’d nominated me as the person to handle… everything. Bar the ordering of parts. And the packing of said parts. In 15 hours a week. Everything. Reconcile 3 accounts. Match every sent item with its corresponding eBay number, then enter the tracking numbers of every sale into eBay. Enter every invoice, receipt and payment into MYOB. Enter every purchase into MYOB. Including those that I have not been provided any record of. Liaise with the accountant over… everything, including matters that were sensitive in nature, and the sole responsibility of the owner. Emotional support. Recipe ideas. Arranging flowers for dead relatives. 15 hours. On buggerallperhour.

I had tried to do this job, which had been done by one full time person, and one part time person 2 years ago, in the allotted time, to the best of my ability. Falling short every day of your working life due to the financial constraints of the business turns out to be a tad soul destroying. Having nobody else to fill the gaping hole left by his wife after her death was lonely. Also, impossible. Plus, a constant whir of anxiety that I had tried to compartmentalize, despite its size. I couldn’t keep it from a loud whir anymore. Mix that in with the responsibilities that come with 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 Groom, cousins, friends, uncles, aunties, school runs, book week, football club, basketball…

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I had applied for and been granted the guest editorship role for a local magazine? I have wanted to make some sort of a go of writing for 172 years, and at the beginning of the year, I had reached out to a friend who was editor in chief for this very mag. Could I write for her? My stuff, other stuff, any stuff really. I just wanted to be able to say that I’d given it a crack, before the rest of my life completely swallowed me up, and my daughter would only ever know me as a menial lady who did stuff all that she wanted, and not much that made a difference in the world. Because we all deserve a bit of ourselves to glow, don’t we?

So. Today. I’ve reprinted the letter. It’s no longer pouring outside. I HAVE to do this. I feel ill. My eyes keep welling. Bastard eyes. Note to self. Take sunglasses to office when delivering resignation. And a hankie. Or at the very least a long sleeve. Lord I hate adulting.

© Melanie Bateson

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