I sat in a park alone. Let the wheel turn as it would. All went silver into nothing. Then the view again. Silver. View. I found that finally I was crying, the tears thick, oozing gently past my lower lids and onto my cheeks, immediately effaced by the wind that was mildly warm but gusty. After ten or fifteen minutes the view took more colours. I realized I was crying not for my Uncle who just died, but for myself and his children. That I was crying because I know and fear that when my Dad dies I will be infantile with grief, an utter child again, railing and flailing. I understood too that that though I will cry for when my Mum dies it won’t be so outraged. I hold her too close inside, she’ll always be in me chattering away, whereas the loss of my Dad will come with a fear that he is indeed lost…He lives not in the world of talk which can resonate inside, but in the world of activity. I will see him in the repairs of my home, in my own tendency to not let myself be picked over in a fight, my straight and sound work, in some of the charm he transmitted through genes or all the living. I should trust I will have him close, yet somehow it his death I fear more greatly.
The wheel turns, the warmish wind blows, it is autumn, thinning of the veils. And there! Colour again. A shed so blue it is sky. Its trim is the burnished brown-red of olives. The taste almost on me, of olives on a day hung cerulean blue. Death-thoughts subside in the moment of that shed’s painting, all the confluent story of someone choosing those colours, dreaming that scheme; then two little girls emerge from the shed on hot-pink bikes. I remember being six or seven and going to Dad’s work, the excitement of it, the great warehouse where I rode a big purple woman's bike round and round the empty concrete floors. Hot chocolate in the dark wood office. Just another childhood Saturday.
And now I build those childhood Saturdays for another, good reason, sensible loving reason, to have held down on grief and mortal fears. Good reason to go now, away from the salty words and into the sweet of my son and his little limbs sprawled on the couch. But I know too I’m not done crying, that in the mix of life and the days there is so much salt ahead, salt enough to make a statue of a wife, or salt enough to buoy a ship.
Which will it be?