When I see the word lead in isolation I think of The Polar Express and of the black girl that should lead others. Sometimes I think of pencils too, especially if I am sitting at the table in my dining room, where I keep a red tin full of them. On fewer occasions it makes me think of heavy, worried and sad, and that's how it sprung to mind this morning when I sat at my computer for a spot of work and felt something heavy in my stomach. I wrote to a friend of mine and, in sudden inspiration, I said that it's hard to concentrate on my research when I am agonising with a piece of lead sat in my stomach. Weird, isn't it? It's not like my life has changed since, say, Tuesday, yet, all of a sudden, a gust of terror has descended and hasn't moved, at least not for the past twenty-four hours. I am not even hungry and, dear me, that says more than a thousand words.
I felt vaguely better when I met a friend at lunchtime and was able to talk things through but upon return to my modest house, I realised that the lead was still right here, still grounded and heavy, odious and unnecessary. Part of me feels I am being somewhat unreasonable, as if I decided to suddenly over-react. The other part of me keeps saying that I am not over-reacting and that nobody wants to be jobless and considered a second-rate citizen. And I find it all weird and confusing. I've moved from jet-setting job to PhD to no job in what feels like a whim and now it's all gone doom-and-gloom, all for the sake of a six-month little gap between the present day and my first post. In fact, that's less than six months. It seems like an age though. I should be pleased, as I received fabulous responses from my peers to my review of Watchmen, so all is well in that sense, I can still function, I can still do my work. I should feel double-pleased as I also snatched four tickets to Jacko in the summer. They should pay for themselves ten times over once I decide to sell them. Yet, I am proceeding as if in black treacle, like we do in dreams, when we really ought to run and can't.