Sunday, 23 August 2015


I fly through the air at 4000km per hour, the red earth I had returned to hurtling below, eucalyptus dotting the ancient earth. Tired, dried out husks bearing the weight of the world. I am leaving again, but now I don’t have anything to return to. She had been a constant. She had sat in her armchair, fingers embraced by golden rings; a colour for the ages, so she said; she had sat amongst the trees which bowed to the river and the sun, boughs of green and then grey and then green again, seasons changing and still she sat amongst her gold. Then she moved and again she sat, this time surrounded by three small walls and one of roses, sitting amongst papers and that which she loved; and then she lay down, and she didn’t sit up again. I flew to her, over the banana trees and coconut, over the deep green of the sea, and then over that red earth and over the dry eucalyptus. She lay amongst us and we didn’t leave her; we whispered and laughed and cried and we massaged her feet and stroked back her hair and we kissed her forehead and we said things we felt guilty for, as she lay with her eyes hooded and mouth agape, each breath accompanied with a deep rasp, a clenching of life in her fists, a refusal to go without a fight. I sat and I whispered to her; “I love you, I have been so shaped by you, I didn’t even know you, but I knew you were in me.” As I watched her cheeks sink and her chest fall with each moan, I couldn’t help but think of the dog we’d had amongst the bananas and coconuts, whose chest had fallen and eyes had faded in the same way. But that dog had died quickly, with no one to mourn as the edge of the spade fell from the hands of the villager. Perhaps it had been surprised at this final betrayal. Its bones and the skin that held them together had ceased to shudder, and as I watched her eyes slowly lose focus and forget me, her fingers with their golden rings loosen their grip on mine, I absurdly thought of the fall of the spade and that dog with the kind eyes and the heaviness in my heart. And then she was gone. Her papers and her room and the pungent sweat and incense and smell of sickness ceased, replaced with stripped sheets and second hand donations and the unsettling feeling that I hadn’t cried enough. Yet I loved her, and had been shaped by her. So now I fly over the red earth and the eucalyptus, this land I never really claimed but always felt a part of, unable to brush the ochre dust off of my palms, relishing the dry, acrid taste of the bush on my tongue. 

No comments:

Post a Comment