Thursday, February 28, 2013

Play into the night

He never sent postcards or letters or tokens of his affections. Meredith said he was trying to protect her but she wanted more than ever to know she hadn't been abandoned. Max told her that Dan once hitched a ride in a tank and pretended to be a Belgian soldier at a checkpoint in Serbia. Everyone he met thought he was crazy and everyone had a story about him that probably wasn't true. She admitted, she probably didn't know him very well. She never had a chance.

As a young student she never had time for the whirlwind of romance so she was surprised when a dashing engineering student persisted in asking her out. He showed her how to make love in dark places. He showed her that love could be dangerous and exciting. And then he married her. She'd never known the end of a love affair before so it took her a long time to know when it was truly over and when she did she realised it was many years ago. "How can I get over it?" She drinks coffee in the boatshed with Max and talks about lost loves in exotic places. "It never really began."

They aren't leaving. They know that now. They tell themselves they'll leave but it's more than memories that keeps them here. "You know, when someone dies, no one expects you to get over it." He wipes cups and places them on top of the coffee machine. They stack in neat piles, just the way Dan left them. "But you do."

"Just like that?"

"I didn't say it was easy, but it happens. My father told me not a day goes by when he doesn't grieve my mother. "

"You should ask him about it," she says. "You should ask him what it means."

"You're right. I should."

Max puts on Dan's music and it plays into the night. She has lost and she is lost, but here in the boatshed with the music playing she is not crying, and she isn't sad. And she isn't alone. Max leans on the bench with hands around his elbows.
"It's always so quiet here," he says.
"And you think that if it gets too quiet you'll hear it."
"Hear what?"
"That voice in your head telling you you're alone."

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grief is a very private thing

It never really began. And it's silly, really, to be like this- angry and depleted of will. Crying on the floor. It's not like the one she loves has died. It's not like she's alone.

"Grief is a very private thing. You don't believe anyone will understand how you feel." Meredith dispenses wisdom from the bar top like a modern day delphi.

Laura hasn't experienced grief. She lost grandparents she never knew and watched her parents grieve in ways she couldn't understand but it all seemed so far away. As if it were on a stage.
She leans elbows on the bar and tries to imagine wrapping herself inpain like a blanket.

She remembers flying, taking a plane across the country and sleeping with her head against the side of her chair. Flying was escaping and getting far away fast. She used to want to keep running then, so maybe she understood how Dan felt.

She used to be scared. She felt inadequate and incapable as a parent and spouse. She never felt more alone than when she was at home with them - Jack, the kids, the nuclear family in a meltdown only no one had spotted the early warning signs. Jack was born to damage control, easing the fear and the uncertainty by with an ease that belied his lack of organisation in other areas of his life. She protected them the only way she could think of, by removing herself from the picture.

Grief is private so she doesn't intrude. She leaves a jar on the boat shed steps. She can cook now. It's an offering. Unappreciated no doubt, only she isn't quite sure what "looking after" means. This is the best she can do and she's never done it before.