Posted in Death

Courage

A summer interregnum
the time spent between a disappeared career
and one yet to emerge
a seaside community
a mix of
not long married and long time retired.
Except a couple in their 50’s
he a practitioner of commerce in the nearby town
she a housewife. It was what her role was called then.

Christmas
New Year
carefree and timeless, every day is Sunday
old music and new freedom – it would last forever.

It didn’t. Summer ends abruptly
evicted by autumn
we must store away memories
dig up ambition …. and be gone.
The community had been tolerant
seeing what was approved
looking away from what wasn’t
we had brightened the dull sameness.

Later we heard of her illness
the oncologist and doctor spinning threads of hope
a combination of surgery and chemotherapy could
perhaps
maybe
nothing was certain – the rules no longer applied.

She told them she had lived through a war
and raised four children.
Give it to me straight she said
one to two years with treatment, closer to one
four to six months without, closer to four.

Equivalent or equal …..  it all seemed the same.
If she was going to die it would be
with dignity intact and all her hair
life sharpened by reality not dulled by treatment.
She went home and enjoyed 5 weeks of goodbye.

Still not a quarter of a century at a time
bravado a young man’s default emotion
it is exactly what I would do.
Stare directly at the executioner. No blindfold.
Now almost the same age, certainty weakens.

For the back story click Backstage
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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.