I step out into the bitterly cold evening. The air feels like a thousand little razors snipping at my face and hands. Exhaustion has settled into every corner of my mind and body. A dull, vague disquiet churns away in the pit of my stomach.
I’ve just finished a Sunday shift at work. Fires, rapes, arrests and the odd feel-good story about a charity fun run. Just another day on a daily newspaper – a day like all the others before it and like many more to come.
As I make my way home through the empty streets, I reflect on all the details. Not the actual stories of human error and suffering – for better or worse, I’ve become immune to all that. It’s the petty things that trouble me. Were there any typos in the copy I published online? Did I fill all the news-in-brief spaces? Why, oh why did I forget to change the headline when updating a story? The news editor noticed. He must think I’m incompetent.
It’s the usual voice in my head, nagging and chiding. I want to be the best I can be. And at the same time, I want to curl up in a quiet corner and not have to face the world. To live a slow life free from stress. The world is moving too fast and I feel like I’m about to fall off it any moment now. Maybe I’m not cut out for modern life. I’m out of step with the others.
Before I know it I’ve reached my front door. The flat is warm and there are cooking smells from the kitchen where my other half is clattering around. I immediately change into pyjamas, pour myself a whisky and jump under the duvet with a book. The dog snuggles up to me and licks my hand. Slowly, the wretched feelings start to dissipate. I’m a homebody at heart and this is my happy place. Quiet and cosiness. I want to stay like this forever – or at least until tomorrow.