Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I hold her weathered feather light hand and watch her life drift away. She looks so tiny. So empty. All except her eyes. Her eyes are bright and stare at me and at Jodi and a million things pass between us without a word being spoken. The room is gone. There is only us and now and forever and she is light and dust and a star and a dream and we are the vessels that hold the memory of her. The room is spinning. An earthquake is inside me, screaming my soul tight to a single drop of blood, which hangs delicate and shivering in the air, waiting for the moment where it will fall to earth.

It hurts. But it always has. I try to follow my other thoughts. Who I need to call. Where I will go.
Jodi wipes her lips and forehead. Her eyes repeat the message and I let it echo and return, I love you, I'm sorry, I love you, I'm sorry. There are machines and tubes and sounds and lights and it all looks so pathetic. The conceit of us. Desperately clawing at our final moments as though it matters. As though we would rather remain here than reunite with our brothers the stars, our sisters the suns, our true families, the freedom of forever.

Your eyes are so beautiful, mum. So clever and sad. I love you. Lonely you, poor, sad, beautiful, funny, lonely you. Held here by the brute realities of this machine world. Left on the steps of a convent at birth. You never knew your mother, you never had a family, you never had a home - you two were my home, you and Jodi - always on the road, always in the car, always packing and running and knee deep in snow and burdened by us and held down by him and forced to pay, money for this, rent for that, here take my all, take my body, take my heart, but you, you clever thing, you never gave your soul and I can see that in your eyes. And I have let it hold me down - you were trying to protect me - I have let him have me as well as you, well no more, no more, time to stand and time to live and - give it to me, I will take it with me - time to take the tiny spark that lived behind, inside, hidden and time to let it go, let it grow, time to light a fire, an inferno, time to burn it all down, the memories to dust, the hatred and pain and rotting sick and as for Simon we'll let it combust his anger to furious flame and the skin of the earth will crack and blister and boil the soil and toil he made us suffer the endless hours of hurt and terror for the days we ran and the nights we never held our ground, but we tried mamma, didn't we try, we cried our cry and set our spears as his advancing army came crashing toward us, you and me mamma, you and me, our flags held high though none could see us lying on the battlefield and those who did thought us defeated, surrendered and he stood above us beating his chest and screamed and hollered his siren song of stupidity and muscle while beneath him we bled, surrounded by the dead and dying but your eyes mamma, your eyes said something and I knew but I was too afraid, too afraid of what your hands wrapped in mine as now you die but I can feel it mamma, the cold dagger in my hand, the ice in my eyes, the element of surprise to shiv between the second and third, to cut his heart, here, now, in his moment of victory - no - yes, I want to see him bleeding, I want to see him die.

It's her. I open my eyes. I didn't realise they were closed. She stares at me and I can see the whisper of a smile on her lips.
"Mum? We're here, mum, we're here."
Jodi leans over the bed and kisses her forehead. "We're here, mum, Matty and I, we're here."
Her eyes close again. We hold her hands. I am choking. Right now. On every tear that ever was.

Jodi leans over her. Touches her cheek softly and whispers, "You taught me what was real in this life."
I take hold of her hand and wrap my other arm around Jodi as I lean in to join her. "You taught me to notice things. Little things. The gold rimmed clouds and silver streets after the rain. The markings on the back of a tiny yellow caterpillar."
We are crying.
"The way patterns repeat in nature, in fruit, on flowers, on animals."
"That the world was too serious."
"That none of that bullshit mattered."
"You taught me to be silly."
Like now. She looks tubular. That would have made her laugh. But there's no time for that now. It's all just erupting out of us. This goodbye beneath the slow lowering curtain of tears.
"That we are all small but that our smiles matter."
"That my smile mattered. That it could make another which could make another and another and if we all did that..."
"You taught me to listen to music. Really listen. To love the music that made me feel."
"You bloody sat us down and made us listen to Dark Side of the Moon, over and over and over. You told us, less is more kids. Less is more, and we thought you were crazy..."
"And Monty Python. The Meaning of Life. You made us watch that so many times..."

The tears are giggles of despair.

You taught me to cry.
You taught me to fight.
You taught me to survive.
And now I can see it in your eyes as you leave
Was it enough? Did I teach you enough, Matty?
Yes. Please don't go.
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

And then the light goes out

and it is as though you never were.

No comments:

Post a Comment