I was almost exactly 3 years younger than him.  He could never quite remember how old I was and settled on 29, the age when I met him. I was quite happy with that especially while I crept into my thirties.

In more recent years he accepted I wasn’t 29 anymore and we teased each other about being middle aged. Though he was technically born middle aged, and secretly liked it, I was finally starting to join him.

He was almost exactly 30 years younger than his mum.  She went and he began advancing on her. He noted it. He contemplated catching her up and marked time with projected milestones for our son. But he didn’t have that long to wait and now his grief and anguished words rattle round the empty house.

Somewhere back in my early void I remember a half thought that we would stop being three years apart. Today I inched towards him.

I like finding new grey hairs, though I insist they are silver and imagine if I keep living that I’ll eventually become some long silver haired storyteller, sitting by a camp fire,  weaving  tales of loss and love into the starry night. Casting out my net of words to bring them close through the darkness, to teach and pass down the wisdom of the ages.  Smiling warmly and sparkling at them with the compassion and knowledge glow of a wounded healer.  However, I’ve got this far without ever sitting round a camp fire due to a deep aversion to canvas. It’s not on my radar, unless it’s to be primed and painted upon. So if I intend to evolve into a wild woman of nature I will need to take baby steps with that too, the first being to even allow myself to venture into Millets. Another long road.  

In the meantime I think Grey is Good, (to mis-quote, er… Wail Street). I think I’m getting old. I don’t think I’m 47 now, I think I’ll soon be 50, I’m not that young anymore, it won’t be that long. But then that’s not a helpful thought with a son to raise. I have no intention of colouring my hair, though I had many such ideas in the early aftermath including cutting and hacking it all off aggressively with the kitchen scissors. I wanted to wear a stark change like a badge of pain or a sorrow sandwich board, like the Red Indian widows who shave their heads. People would shun me and whisper in aisles (they still do, of course) and it would remind them of my agony. But I neither cut nor coloured and monitor the passage of time, for now, through its length and added silver.

So I’m catching up with him, for the first time not three years between us. I still move while he waits.

And what will happen when I get to 48? Will I just stop too?  Or will I get to feel what its like to be 50? Will I experience it for him? and will I be older than him? Will I try on the old age he frequently worried about? I’m gaining on him. I’m not the 29 year old with all the plans and dreams. I’m certainly not the 46 year old he knew last February. These 330 days, these 7,920 hours, these 475,200 minutes have eradicated all but an echo of who I was. This older woman who lives with a pain he never knew, who ages because there’s no choice and who sits mesmerized  by the flashing cursor on the screen, counting down the seconds of her life.

The distance between us, hour upon hour

becoming less

until

at last, to nothing 

 

P.S

This morning

Sat one bench down waiting for some light. Slipped cautiously, carefully through the winters mud, incongruously tethered to my birthday gift bag. Shining out, pale egg shell, pure and crisp, banging against the side of my battered parka. Grass trying to find a way up through the trampled persistence of sludge. I sit and watch and listen. After my moments I lift the underside of the bag from the dewy cold bench. It remains un tainted by the grubbiness. A splash squash of moisture leaving an imprint on its matt smoothness and a pattern on the bench to show that it was here.

The sun doesn’t quite know what to do today but the air insists on coldness.

Under the buzz of the council drilling in new street lights I focus on the chorus, still just winning over urban necessity.  There was some peace in my morning, I look out of myself at the painted image of the cathedral, neatly drawn out in the haze. But now behind me someone’s blasting with a chain saw, bright hard hat and goggles, some purposeful destruction.  I think it’s time to go and thaw out my hands, switch the computer on and wait…..

Advertisements