As I write this, it's one o'clock on a Friday morning. I have lain here listening to the sound of my breathing for hours. My mouth is so dry I could remove the varnish from the wooden bedhead with my tongue. I'm trying in desperation to keep my back from the wall but whenever I close my eyes, you are there - insubstantial and grainy, like an old photo. Almost as if I could turn the vision of you over, there would only be a cardboard backing. The prophets and their bombs have had another success. The city reels from punishment passed down by misguided zealots.
I was nowhere near the bombings when they happened. I was late for work that morning. But if I had been on time? If my lover hadn't given me 'The Look' when the alarm woke us? If I had left my keys on the hook in the kitchen, instead of in my coat pocket and wasted ten minutes turning the house upside down to find them, then maybe, just maybe, I would have been in the thick of it. Sex and lost keys. I wonder if they had they saved my life? I wonder if thousands of others like me, lie awake at one o'clock in the morning and wonder the same thing. And I'm wondering why we bother entertaining these thoughts at all. In the end we are about as in control of our own destiny as parasolling dandelion seeds.
You've never been far from my thoughts and I often think of you
on cold winter mornings. Darling, do you remember those vile
green mittens my mother knitted for me and forced me to wear
whenever the mercury dropped below double digits? You used to say
they looked like I was wearing a pair of skinned frogs as hand
puppets. God, those gloves, they remind me of when we were in
school. Remember how completely obsessed we were with each other?
I still remember how nothing really mattered when you called out
my name. But that was youth. Our innocence fiercely protected by
our parents, our teachers, our community. There was nothing much
to concern ourselves with. In fact nothing really mattered at
I'm sitting here and I'm thinking about how long it will take them to blow us away. My throat constricts and my lungs feel scorched. I try so hard not to wonder about those last moments. Were you frightened? Or was it all over so quickly you never had time to recognise your own death. But I won't let it get me down. You would not want me to dwell on morbidity. I've never been particularly stoic - you of all people know that. Knew that. I will try and find some grace in darkness and there is no shame in admitting that I'm just thankful to be facing another day. I owe you that much. Because I know that if you were here now you would say that days should be cherished. Regrets don't get you far when you're gone.
Darling, as I write this it's now five o' clock on a Friday morning. I know that I will not be the only one who has passed a night with the hours meting out equal measures of grief and nostalgia instead of sleep. I wish I had tried to get in touch in the last few years. How could I have allowed a friendship that meant so very much to me half my life ago, dissolve into half remembered mittens and a two dimensional image of your teenaged self? It would have been as simple as picking up the phone. It's always as simple as picking up the phone. And I know that this morning, one hundred telephones will shake and ring. But for all the wrong reasons. Strangers calling strangers, friends calling friends, family calling family. And one of them's a call from someone who knew you..
Know that I loved you well and that I'll still think of you on cold winter mornings, darling. When I remember those gloves, they'll still remind me of when we were in school. I will cling to the innocence of those days. When our futures stretched out to infinity. When death was a five letter word that simply did not, could not apply to us. When they could never have persuaded me that infinity was subjective and that death surrounded us each and every day. That lives like yours, were in the hands of these erroneous fools.
And today, with a letter I will never send, tucked into my pocket, I will not abide self-pity. In myself. In anyone. To those of you who moan about your lives through one day to the next, if your life is so damned difficult, well let them take you next. For I knew someone who loved every breath they took, understood the deliciousness of life and was torn away into stillness and silence. Where lies the difficulty in cherishing the moments that we have. Can't you live and be thankful you're here? We dance heavy-footed on the fragility of life without ever truly understanding that in a heartbeat it can all be taken away. Don't you see? Don't you understand? It could be you, tomorrow, next year.
This work was created for
educational purposes only following fair use guidelines.
Original song Writer(s): Fyfe Dangerfield Hutchins
Original song Copyright: Universal Music Publishing Ltd.