Last Night I Fell in Love with my Dead Enemy
Last night I fell in love with my dead enemy. We were stuffed inside a tiny cage and, with no room to move, he had no choice but to enclose me with his arms as we descended into the void.
And although I’ve never said this before to anyone and I know it’s much too late, it was such an impossibly tender feeling that lingered when I woke that I wish I’d forgiven him when he was still alive,
before the great wave ended him.
We’d argue about the proliferation of my students and how could they possibly be accommodated?; the contents of my course, which were more analog than digital; my fuck you attitude to authority and protocol and form-filling and target-reaching and cow-towing to the hierarchy whom I never acknowledged let along accepted, extracting concessions from the directors without ever going through middle-management.
Because all he was trying to do was his job, and I was a fly in his ointment.
So every so often he’d stick out his foot and metaphorically trip me up.
I wish I’d had time to forgive him and that he’d had time to forgive me, for badmouthing him behind his back and feeling no gratitude for all the discreet things he did, in his own way, and against his better judgement, to help
before the great wave sucked him down.
Last night I saw my enemy curled like a pale child in the dark of the ocean and I kissed his sleeping cheek.
I should have forgiven him for not asking after my mother, or my daughter’s baby, or offering to open the door when I was holding an armful of books and my broken arm was in plaster and for only ever making me a coffee once in the 15 years we worked together and refusing my cups of tea and sympathy when he was under pressure and all he wanted was his own company.
I wish I’d had time to forgive him before the great wave sucked him down, flailing and gasping in terminal terror while his lungs filled with bitter brine and his wife and son stood screaming on the beach.
I am so, so very, so very very sorry. I wish I had forgiven him and I wish I had never wished him ….