I try to grab on to a beautiful memory. Nothing particularly special or grand, we’re in the park, Jori playing on the bungee trampoline, me watching from a distance, smiling because she’s smiling, while eating what seemed to me then (and still) like the most delicious bar of Twix I have ever tasted. The memory a few years old, but vivid. Hold it, I say to my heart – my mind shooting from one negative thought to the next like a monkey - Hold that image. Surrender to it completely. I can’t describe it in detail, describing it diminishes it; the colours, the sounds, how the breeze felt, how the trees swayed, the smells, the powerful feeling of being there, fully there. The ethereal nature of memories, how they exist so beautifully when not captured in words, or pictures, in the limbo of time and space, on the edge of reality, in the belly of something resembling a past.
I am still walking while holding on to my precious memory. Sometimes I can change what we were wearing that day, today I decide I was wearing my red coat, Jori was wearing a blue jumper. “I want to be at peace, I want to be at peace, I want to stop hurting, I want to stop hurting” I wrote in my affirmation journal this morning. I will write more tonight: “I want to be at peace, I want to stop hurting, I want to laugh again”. A cockerel wanders out of a front garden. I stop and stare in amazement; its unusual shape, its mesmerizing colours, the magnificence of its stride. It considers me with interest for a moment. I am struck by the beauty of its creation. What incredible imagination, what skill, what majesty can conjure up this being, this fascinating design?
From my window, I see the old man from the building across, tired looking, out on his little balcony, smoking. Sometimes, our eye meet for a split second, he turns his gaze not wanting to seem invasive. In that split second we communicate, no words, no previous introduction, or encounter. I say how hard life is, I say how pain - in some twisted way - is good. I say, I don’t approve of his smoking, but I understand, because I’ve used similar methods of escape too. He says, don’t worry I’m not a creep, I’m not trying to invade your privacy, I’m not a pervert sneaking a glance in someone else’s home, I just need this little release, this little escape, my family won’t let me smoke inside the apartment. He sits down, in what seems to me like a very uncomfortable squatting position. In profile, he supports his tilted head with his free left hand, and lights up another. Behind a selection of dusty brooms, hanging laundry, and a small empty bird cage, he’s almost completely hidden. He says, life is hard, and strange, and wonderful.
Somewhere, in another dimensional existence, I’m wearing my long grey coat, Jori is wearing her fluorescent pink jumper, she’s smiling while bouncing high up on the bungee trampoline, I’m watching at a distance smiling, munching on the most delicious bar of Twix I have ever tasted.