And she looked around, took in a huge breath of clean air and jumped. The mountain was high and her board left a wave of snow behind her. Her mind was silent, her body moving so effortlessly down the slopes… is this what heaven feels like…?
And then she wailed. The birds, who had previously been singing their eve song, closed their beaks. Even they knew this was no longer the time. The air stilled and a respectful, unsure tension overcame the earth. A wail that was so powerful it stilled every nation could surely only come from an unbearable, unspeakable pain.
And as the carriage sidles up to the door, the wheel snags on the cobbles. The lone passenger corrects his hat, moving it back down over his eyes, slanted slightly to one side. Moving his hand, he reaches through the carriage window for the door handle. There is only one thought running through his mind as his foot finally hits familiar cobble: home.
So, this month – exercise!
I have been walking a little more, done a very occasional jog and even tried my hand at some basketball… After 2 hours of trying to dribble and shoot hoops – we were done! Time flies when you’re having fun but I can assure you, time definitely does not fly the following day when everything hurts and you can barely walk!
I am also trying to raise funds for life-changing research into multiple sclerosis!
Some times things happen at the right time, without any time to prepare. Some times, these things are exactly what is needed…
You always told me, “One day…”
Trying in vain to prepare me for these days.
In the early days, I notice your hat is still there – I make a mental note to ask if I can keep it,
But then in the blink of an eye – it is gone.
I take your collection of ties without waiting for a better time,
Folding them up neatly in a bag.
I think of the sadness in your eyes whenever you spoke of a family who was long since gone,
Always preparing me for, “One day…”
I never expected ‘one day’ would feel like this,
Never imagined I would understand so accurately that sadness I saw within you.
Weeks later, we are standing outside our house,
We are all here, waiting.
Liz announces the arrival of the hearse with a deafening, “He’s here.”
Nic and I lose composure, eyes dropping immediately to our feet.
I sit in the funeral car, with your daughters – the magnitude of that moment hits hard,
I am the only grandchild in the car and I wonder, does that not speak volumes?
The house is empty,
I am showing prospective buyers around.
They want to change everything – strip it bare and start anew,
I want to drag them out but instead, I just remove myself.
“One day, I won’t be here anymore. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about me like I am telling you about mine.”
“Residential Population: 21,707.”
“The proportion of ethnic minorities is 4.6% – significantly lower, by 12.2%, than nearby regions.”
This is where I grew up. I do not recall any child being from an ethnic minority at school. I do not recall seeing a person who was not white.
This is where I grew up. I do not recall, as a child, seeing anyone who was not heterosexual. I do not recall being aware of any existence other than white, straight, employed men and women and/or stay at home mums…
I grew up with every single person not having an issue with this. I grew up wondering where the hell everyone else was. I grew up watching TV and films and wanting to meet those people.
I grew up in a place that was not meant for me. I was placed in a box, I should never, ever have been placed in. I never fit into it, it was never comfortable.
So many people I had known as a child talked about leaving, travelling… they are still there. I never imagined I would leave, it did not seem an option for me. And yet, unimaginably, I was the one who did. And yet, somehow, they are still there.
It baffles me, so completely. Perhaps it always shall.
The one with all of the odds against her was the one to leave.
Irony is an amazing thing.
Take a breath,
Wear that dress, that top.
Change your shoes,
Put on those heels.
Straighten your posture,
Raise your head to look them in the eye.
Choose what you want,
Ignore the voices that tell you differently, that shame you.
Embrace your difference,
Choose to change what you aren’t comfortable with.
Make those changes.
Make those choices.
The only person’s opinion that matters
It is 1998, the house is warm – it smells like homemade pastries. Across the room, a family is gathered.
2 ft tall, green branches reach out.
“Do you want to place these chocolates on, sweetheart?” She asks with a soft smile.
They sit on the floor giving careful consideration of what gets placed where.
It is 2000, the house is happy – four friends sit together laughing. A knock on the door and a child joins them.
5 ft tall, green branches face the room.
“My mum says she can’t make it, the rabbit is sick.” He tells the tree.
Confused looks are exchanged between friends, bafflement that will continue for many years.
It is 2017, the house is cosy – a family enjoy the peace. Love and laughter in their eyes as they observe their boy.
2 ft tall, green branches mock the cat.
“Don’t you dare!” She says, swooping him up with a ‘boop’ on the nose.
Content purrs surround the quiet room.
It is 2018, the house is silent.
5 ft tall, fibre optic lights brighten the room.
“You want me to speak? You want to hear my voice? Then listen to me. I’m a subtle person, I ain’t about to start shouting just so my voice rises above yours. You want to hear what I want to say, you gotta shut up for a second and listen to me.”