Looking in the mirror no longer shows me an image of how I think I look. Now it asks me questions about the future and reminds me that I am no longer the fairest in the land. My young maths students crack the odd joke about me developing bald spot and I find myself envying their youth and stupidity.
That’s fighting talk, that is. Growing up where I did I’ve heard this language a lot. It’s the battle cry of housing estate vigilante justice, “You just tell me where he lives, and I’ll march right round there and see what he has to say for himself. By God, he’ll listen to what I have to say.”
Fifty isn’t old. She always insisted that she wasn’t our mother, but sometimes she sort of was. She has always been great to have on side, and has been one of those folk you had to work at to keep sweet. She never put up with half-hearted attempts at friendship. It seemed at times that she was hard work, but in a good way. She never talked down the people around her. Condescension wasn’t her thing. She wanted everyone to be at her level, which was grand until she got her doctorate.
Word came to me that you died peacefully, that you slipped away in your sleep. Chrissie, I hope that’s true. In those moments I hope you were content, and that you had around you all the people and voices you needed to see and hear, and I hope you felt the love of those who were far away.
Let’s make this real with a question: Have you ever held a dead child? Not just seen one in a photograph, but really held the corpse of an infant? Some reading this may well have done. That child may have been their own, and to them I can say only that I am sorry, and – by God – my heart goes out to you.
There is a room furnished with familiar things; a carpet with a ruddy woven pattern, a three piece suite, and a polished mahogany display cabinet. It adjoins a small kitchenette, cluttered with the cups and plates of a widowered man. This room and kitchen exit now only in my memory, but sometimes in my dreams … Continue reading Early on the First Day of the Week
Back in Bellfield Primary School I attempted to read The Colour of Magic. It was a little beyond me then, and perhaps it still is. Terry Pratchett, who succumbed to his embuggerance (what he called his Alzheimer's) yesterday, was a satirist of formidable skill. His publisher reminded us in his own comments on the old … Continue reading Time is a Drug. Too Much of it Kills You.