Is everyone in your family happy? Are you sure? You'd better check. Do it now. Run!
|Every morning, as fresh wounds are cut by the sun, and bleed light through my Venetian blind slats,
I think of you.
Sometimes, I hear a distant tinkling, and could swear the sound is your fingers, brushing, coaxing a melody from your piano. The notes tip over the furthermost edge of silence. Perhaps I was mistaken.
But when a breeze stirs wind chimes on the veranda, and the hanging crystal twists to flash rays into my squinting eyes, the sound and impossible whiteness become real.
If I reach out and touch the mirror, you might appear next to my shoulder, in the ambience of this world of the living. It's cloying dust, microbes, germs, flakes of skin, floating hair - whatever - are ironically borrowed from the realm of missing persons.
On a busy Friday, when the spanner with grease on the grip of it, turns a quarter turn at a time, and slips off the nut, hitting my forehead, I welcome the sharpness.
Please feel something, my body cries!
Under the chassis, doing my job, the workshop becomes my silent friend. A cold steel and concrete comforter - soothes - as the mechanic dribbles; gripping the small knurled torch between teeth that smiled into your eyes.
And today, I stand part of the early crowd. No one works. Each one is facing a solemn soldier, who plays the Last Post*. Wreaths are carried carefully by innocent school children, and laid as tenderly as they would cradle a dying soldier's head, misunderstanding war.
There was a time when my existence could not imagine days without you. It is a personal apocalypse, when humanity recovers your injury for you, and the cup of concrete glances become your bottled loneliness.
Yeah, break out the tissues for the graveside audience.
You deserve it.
You'll need momentum for the keen razor of never ending nothingness called loss, that crouches and waits in your privacy. Admit, you enjoy this Pain; every reminder, every remnant, of the laughter, comrade shoulder punching, exaggerated complaining.
The Pain is all you have left to exercise the marrow of memory, of the absent loved one.
Saying your name was effective then, but now the vibrations of my words echo into forgetfulness, and the pegged laundry that was flapping, and tangling in the gusts, changes instantly to absence hanging on grim cables. Coloured plastic clothes pegs perch unevenly, like cheeky sparrows, as the sun sets behind the shed, and I let the weeds grow among the gone to seed vegetables .
The snuffles of the dog through the paling fence demand answers from me. Please give me the regular attention, neighbour, he whines.
Slumber on town people. Shouting at the cloudy night, movements of weather signal to eternity the cry of the heart below, the billowing agony, the bright vision of you, when you were still here.
Reflections of tomorrows questions have collected already on the plywood flooring.**
Do ants forage on the brick path at night? Does anyone else understand what's going on? What are the falling droplets that puzzle the cat? Why the blindness? Tears, fears, or just darkness?
The garden tools rattle and the lawn mower rolls its mechanical support away, snubbing weakness and refusing to intervene as his bare feet struggle, tremble, shiver, finally relax and swing. A gable rafter creaks in complaint as the burden finds equilibrium.
Where is your loved one now? Are they happy? You'd better check. Do it now. Run!
Answer me! Are they all right? Please tell me the answer..!
*The Last Post is a bugle call used first by the British Military to signal the end of the day and in ceremonies and funerals to commemorate the dead killed in war.
In this instance it was played on ANZAC day in Australia, followed by two minutes silence followed by the rouse. The story is not about a soldier but the loss of any loved one.
**This piece was written from personal experience to try to capture the mood and illustrate how our lives can seem so comfortable and rosy, yet we are completely ignorant of someone's excruciating pain.
Someone close to us who gives only riddles and vague indications IF ANYTHING that they are so unhappy with their lives that they will either self harm or remove themselves from the pain by ending their life.
The strange questions at the end of the piece do have answers, but it requires you to think, reread and ponder, guess the riddles and do some mind detective work.
And the answer is staring you in the face, hanging on a rope, bleeding the lifeblood and bodily fluids onto the floor of the shed, with the rest of the family inside their warm house, or out at work, not knowing the first thing about what is happening.
I never intended this story to be about suicide, but the words built up in my mind, and I let them lead me until it was too late and I was dragged into that shed, a powerless witness to my character's demise.
Footnote: A close friend emailed me soon after I wrote this item, concerned for my well being. To me, while she was mistaken, and I was quite OK, this spoke volumes about the thought this piece provoked, just from reading it. How much more so, when you've lived it, and written it.