The breeze quickens and the leaves pick up their pace across the
Like a bag caught up in the air and then thrown again when the wind
drops, his face slowly crumples. The wrinkles become more prominent,
etched across his face. 'I can't stand this, I can't.' He leaves his
chair and hurries out of the room on unsteady feet. 'I can't bear it,
you two looking at her'. 'I know Granddad, I know, but we can't?' They
embrace, hard, as though if they hold each other tight enough it will
all go away. She wont be sitting in that chair, silent. Crying out in
pain at intervals. She isn't there. Not really. Her eyes are far away
and when he holds her hand and talks to her, the tenderness is too much
to bear. A single tear falls from his cheek each time he goes to her,
as though he is collecting them, trying to save them for her, for when
she's gone. That strong woman, fighting against the cancerous world,
now it's her own body's cancer she's fighting. Though it doesn't seem
as if there's much fight left in her. She used it all for us and
there's none left for her. Now he is fighting for her, and trying to do
it on his own.
His cough is now almost unbearable. It seems as though his chest is
fighting to get out of his mouth each time he opens it. He can't do
this on his own, but he'll try. They've never been apart, fifty years
or more and now he's scared. He's angry that she's going first. That's
not the way they'd planned it. How will he cope, when she's gone? So he
tries to save his tears like a real man would. Like his father would
before him. But he wants us to save our tears too and I can't. They
spill out of me, though I try to stop them. The words blur in front of
my eyes and the world seems grey, so much colder than it was before. I
thought she'd live forever. Stupid if you think about it, no one lasts
forever. She's fought a long time, and there's no fight left.
Sitting in that car, watching the world going by, slowly, watching us.
Nothing seemed real. None of it was real. We were just kids, playing at
dress-ups. The roses on the coffin, the sound of the preacher telling
us she'd 'gone to a better place'. It wasn't really happening. Faces
passed by us, united in our grief. People I didn't know, but knew me.
All taking my hand and telling me how sorry they were, but wasn't it a
lovely service, and didn't the family look nice, all dressed in black.
She would have been proud. Would have been, but for what? If what the
preacher said was right she is proud isn't she? They pause mid
sentence, shocked. 'Well yes, of course'. And they walk away. But I
can't walk away. My Granddad is bent double, crying, and I can't make
it better, and neither can She. Wherever She is.