Thursday 25 May 2017


A couple of weeks ago someone with whom I grew up died.  This had repercussions, some predictable and some unexpected.  The greatest of the latter was like the opening of a door in to a room packed with as- if tangible memories, visual, spiritual and emotional.  A lumber room which had been closed so long I had no recall of what had been stowed away in there and could even have denied the presence of some items another person would have sworn she/he had seen me put  in there.

I saw her winding my wet hair around her fingers to make ringlets that would dry my hair curly.  I saw us playing on the beach near where we lived.  I am wearing a sort of ruched swimsuit that little girls wore eight decades ago. There were long-forgotten smells, like the one of our home with a splash of pipe tobacco in it which my Father smoked. There, too, was the cat we shared, a black and white moggy whose name I didnt find amongst the items.  I had the black bit and she the white. There were chicken cluckings from the birds we kept for their eggs.  Had you asked me last week, I suspect I wouldn't have known we kept chickens  Much of the room was filled with relics of the second world war during which we grew up.  There was my siren suit, with its cats ears, ready to step into the moment the air raid sirens went. I think that siren suit's ears were the trigger for a life-long passion for cats. There, too, was the bolster she used to divide her bed when I had to sleep with her because visitors had my room. Not everything was related to the lost-one.  I saw school notebooks and a letter of commendation from a later time when  I had done a good job in a crisis at work.  On that occasion - fog at London Airport - I met Louis Armstrong as we travelled by train to fog-free Scotland for take off. There is a very real risk this analogy, if that's what it is, is running out of believability But, in that vein, mostly it was the essence of the Departed that I kept catching.   In today's terms she had had a very difficult early life, a text book nightmare of confusion, loss and change which went un-remarked by the adults responsible for us, as would have been usual in that era.  She dealt with her way of being in the world by being a performer: being what each of us wanted her to be whenever we wanted her to be it.  This couldnt be kept up all day every day so I think I experienced as much of the reality of her as anyone did.  Anyway, now she is no longer called upon to perform.  She is in a place, at last, where she is safe to be herself. Bore da

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How moving. I dont know if I believe in another place but it is a lovely thought