clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,/ As we silently stood by
(My Grandfathers Clock)
Emma? What on
earth are you reading that for?
reading it for her English A Level and I thought that I would give
it a go; at least one of us should read it, and it isnt going to be
her. I havent looked at it for years, not since I was a
I laughed, oh
Mike, it is her best book; so clever and funny, and with all those clues it is
like a detective novel; and the relationship between Emma and Mr Knightley
works so well.
He poured us both
stand Jane Austen; all those happy endings and moral lessons. It aint
life. Give me Raymond Chandler any day; people get old, people die. And
nobody knows what is going on, not even the author.
know you didnt like Jane Austen, you an English teacher as
He shrugged and
jugged his wine down; it never came up.
Mike sniffed and
poured himself some more wine; he told me that school had been hellish, and
that he had marking to do, something which he found easier when he had a drink
or two inside him. I wondered how reliable his marking would be, but then it
wasnt the first time that I was glad I was not one of his pupils.
After a few more
minutes he stood up, glass in hand, anyway I had better get on with my
But I saved
you some dinner, couldnt you eat first?
it later; I am not hungry, and I really want to mark these essays whilst I am
still in an unforgiving mood.
I read another
chapter of Emma, before realising that I was thinking about my dad. Was I
transporting myself to Highbury just to put off ringing him? That would be too
simple an explanation, but not entirely untrue. He had gone from being the man
I admired and occasionally hated, to someone so fragile that I worried that he
would fracture and be impossible to put together again.
Why are you so
old? I asked, him in my head, why couldnt you stay as you
were? The thought of having to organise his life, put him in a Home, or
the responsibility when he died, filled me with a black dread that often
threatened to overwhelm me. All these things were going to happen, and I
was responsible; if only I had a sibling to ease the burden or who even I could
just talk to. There was Mike of course, but his no point in worrying
about it until it happens attitude was not helpful.
When dad picked up
the telephone, I could hear classical music playing loudly in the background so
that I struggled to hear him.
he told me, when I remarked about the music, but did not turn it down. He told
me about his day at CAB, where he was a volunteer.
I had such a
busy day, and I was exhausted, and then just as we were about to close up, this
young girl came in probably Miriams age - with two children, I
felt very sorry for her, but my golly she was hard work; she kept crying and
then when I could not give her what she wanted, she started shouting and
swearing at me, I thought that she was going to hit me at one point.
It is okay; it
wasnt me that she was angry with, not really, just the government or the
system. I didnt take it personally, no point.
At least you
can take it easy tomorrow.
They are short
at the Food Bank, so I said that I would go in, help out, at least for the
morning, and then do their admin. Jean is struggling with their incoming and
outgoings and I said that I would have a look at it.
I sighed and for a
moment listened to the music playing in my dads house a couple of miles
away, in a slightly more upmarket part of Nottingham, where he had retired to
ten years ago. I could imagine dad slumped on his recliner chair,
shattered, probably too tired to make himself anything to eat other than
marmite on toast, if that.
You are busy
everyday, no wonder you are so tired, and they use you. That Jean is paid to do
the admin, if she cannot manage, she should give it up and hand over to
somebody who can.
I realised that I
was nagging, but considering he was eighty in a couple of months he did a
ridiculous amount of work
how was he supposed to stay safe and well if he
paid much, and why shouldnt I help her? I would rather be busy;
what else would I do? Sit and watch daytime television? I would be dead
within the year.
After I had finished
on the telephone with dad, I went upstairs, feeling no happier than earlier. I
could hear Miriam playing music from her room, and then there was Mike in our
study staring into space; smelling of wine and sweat.
started. I will do a couple more and then come down, I can go into school
He blushed, I
am busy at the moment, you know how much I have on at the moment with exams and
assessments? And you complain that I am always busy in the evenings.
I shrugged, another
fear that I dare not even name; Mike was just a little too close to Alissa
Bennett, the P.E. teacher. At first, he talked about her a lot, which had been
bad enough, and, I had teased him about her, referring to her as your
girlfriend, but now he never mentioned her at all which was worse.
I had never met her, but imagined her as thin and blonde, ready to mother my
husband and take his various gripes seriously.
stretched for a moment, causing a pain in my shoulder, and then I turned the
microwave on and heated our dinners up, but by the time Mike came down his food
was dry and cold, and I had eaten mine up and was engrossed in Emma.
He sniffed cocaine
off a Gideons Bible; and he felt his heart pound for a minute and then
relaxed, feeling as good as he knew that he would, and nothing else mattered;
the naked girl lying sprawled next to him, tomorrows concert or his wife
at home doing God knew what.
Next to him the
prostitute if thats what she was - sniffed up a line; he
could not remember her name; Jennifer? Courtney? Something like that. He
had rung the number he had been given and she had arrived an hour later and
shortly afterwards someone called Pete arrived with the cocaine. He had
paid hundreds of dollars for his evenings entertainment, but it was worth
it, and he could afford it.
As he lay next to
her on the big bed, he wondered how many women there had been. He was known as
the quiet one, and certainly compared to his more extrovert
bandmates he was, but he had always had women, plenty of women, even before the
band had become famous, so that he could pick and chose. Of course he had
enjoyed the fame and adulation, and for awhile that had been the most important
thing, but the older he got it was women and drugs that mattered the most; at
least they brought pleasure, even if it was only for a few moments, and there
were the memories; the pale, young bodies and the feeling of fire coursing
through his veins, keeping him young.
He could smell
something odd, the smell of burning; was it a joss stick or was someone having
a bonfire outside? He sniffed and his heart pounded a moment, and he realised
that he was getting old, but after a moment, his heart slowed down, and he
kissed the girl, who half-heartedly returned his embrace.
His bandmates Roger
and Pete had calmed down, or so he supposed, in fact they had never been that
close; just colleagues rather than friends, who he rarely saw outside the
recording studio or on stage. He knew that they were both happily married and
had children, Roger would be a grandad by the end of the year, and enjoyed
showing anyone the photographs of the scan of his unborn grandchild.
When they saw him
leave with a young woman, twenty or thirty years younger than him, they looked
at him with something that might have been pity. Keith had been the same
as him, but then he had died in his twenties, all those years ago. But he could
not imagine him calm and faithful, no matter how old he got, but then he could
not imagine him old either.
He thought of his
wife, Trudy, at home in Tring in their mansion; he could picture her lounging
around in expensive clothes, but what else did she do when he wasnt
there? He had no idea. She knew he wasnt loyal, even laughed at his
bimbos, but what did she care? She had money, luxury and
security; she was from a poorer background than him and knew that to live a
fairy tale you need to make sacrifices. Perhaps she had a lover too, and at the
thought, he felt a wave of sadness, even though the girl (Lisa?) was now
working on his thighs with flattering intent. Soon, however he forgot about his
wife and his home and concentrated on the sensations that this young woman was
carefully bringing to life.
He woke an hour
later, urgently needing to empty his bowels, and he was so thirsty, however
something was stopping him getting him up, and the smell of burning was
stronger, all around him, choking him. Someone was lying on top him, hot and
very heavy. He tried to call her name, but he could not remember it and he was
not strong enough to push her off. And then he gasped with pain, a pain such as
he had never felt before, that started with his chest and spread throughout his
body. He tried to shout, or even move, but he could not speak, and he could not
She woke up knowing
something was wrong. The famous rock star was lying beside her, his body cold,
and smelling of sick and shit. Her first impulse was to quickly get dressed and
run away, but the hotel knew who she was and because he was a celebrity they
would look for her. Reluctantly she picked up her mobile and rang 911 and
whilst she waited, she had a shower and got dressed.
She tried to think
about the man who lay dead on the bed, but she had already been quite stoned
when she came to his room, and he was more interested in pleasure than
small-talk. She had a feeling that he was British, but was not sure if that was
because of his accent or if somebody had mentioned this to her; for her he had
just been an old man intent on pleasure. Oh well at least he had died happy, or
so she supposed.
Whilst she waited
for the paramedics she found a classical music station and was listening to
Beethovens Eroica symphony when they arrived soon afterwards, and
carefully tended to the body on the bed, just as she had done so a couple of
It was a large
library, other than Nottingham Central library, it was probably the largest in
the city; certainly we had the most users and most activities.
dont read I frequently heard from librarians at other branches
trying to justify their falling numbers, and whilst that was not in dispute
surely the point was to diversify and offer something else, not just sit there
and bemoan modern culture. Libraries would only become obsolete if we let
I had encouraged
Jake, the library manager, and fresh from his library degree, to modernise;
more computers, activities for children, homework clubs and so much more, and
it worked, even students from the nearby University came in, although not
enough to justify the sneers of other libraries, that we were only doing well
because of the number of undergraduates living in Beeston.
Walking into the
building I could not help but feel proud at how it had changed and thrived, and
yes Jake would take most of the credit and no doubt would soon be flying high,
Beeston just a steppingstone and best of luck to him, but at least nobody would
close the library and those in the know, knew how well I was doing and
presumably if a good job came up, I would stand a good chance of getting it,
although when that would be I had no idea.
managers post had become available three years ago now, I had applied for
it, I had thought that I had a good chance, after all I had virtually run the
place after Monicas retirement, and even before then. And certainly, I
was complimented after the interview, but they wanted a library graduate
apparently, and Jake well, he blew us away. But I am sure you will help
him and next time
Since then I had had
a couple more interviews; one over in Lenton and one at the central library;
but it was the same story, I did well, but was pipped to the post by a young
library graduate, who probably would not be there long, but who knew what to
say and promised the world.
Jake wasnt in
yet, - no surprise there - so I started work on a display about Women in
Literature. Jake had mocked me lightly when I suggested it last week.
I know it is a
worthy cause, but will it really get the punters in.
There is a
class at the university on Eighteenth Century Women Writers, I had
explained, I will send the tutor a few fliers, and obviously a lot of
students live round here. And I could get a tutor to do a talk for the locals;
it will work
He had sighed in a
slightly patronising way, as if he could think of something better, but would
let me have my way as a gift or to shut me up, although no doubt if it was a
success which it would be he would make sure he was centre stage
and get any kudos that were going.
If Jake had not been
such an idiot, I would have quite fancied him, actually that was a lie, even
though he was an idiot, I did fancy him; thin, and beautiful with curly hair
which I longed to stroke. My older colleagues flirted with him shamelessly;
their old enough to be his mother schtick did not fool anybody, but
I did not feel it appropriate, I was just that bit younger than the others,
enough to make it awkward. That being said I am sure he saw me as just
the same as my colleagues, seeing us all as old women, and anyway he had a
fiancée, who he occasionally mentioned, and who he was going to marry at
some point in the far future, when he got round to it.
I had gone to the
Councils publicity department after work the previous day, to collect
some large, glossy posters of various writers, which I had ordered a day or two
earlier, and I started to stick them up. I was a little annoyed that my two
colleagues were just sitting about chatting, not even pretending to work; they
hadnt even offered me a coffee, or shown any interest in what I was
doing, but then unless they were told to do something they never did.
I wondered if anyone
actually liked me at Beeston, but then I got absorbed with my work, unaware of
the library opening, and the handful of people watching my moving books and
magazines. Only when Jake touched me gently on the shoulder did I realise where
I was and the time, after that the day declined, as I dealt with stroppy staff
and a demanding manager.
A Shaft of
London Argos, 2nd
A Miss Marie
Roberts (aged 17) died instantly when the coach window, she was being driven
in, fragmented and a shaft of glass pierced her heart. She was found dead
by her inconsolable mother, when she arrived back home. Her maid not having
noticed her mistress had died.
My cousin Solly rang
shortly before I set off for home, the last one to go as usual.
It is mum, she
is very poorly
they think it could be tonight.
I gulped, feeling
overwhelmed by sadness; I had been very close to my aunt, a dynamic person who
had become a friend as well as a relative. When I had that (very) brief fling
with Solly during one vacation I soon realised that it was Sollys mother
that I loved, not her son, and it was her I stayed close to, whilst Solly
drifted away from the centre of my life, just a background character to my
friendship with his mother.
But for the last six
months she had been ill with stomach cancer and visiting her in the hospital
and then the hospice, had been a trial; the smell of faeces, and the agony on
my Aunts face, had been unbearable. I should have visited her more, I
knew that, but I just could not bear it; the smell, the misery, the fallibility
of the human body. Perhaps none of us were long-livers on my
mothers side of the family; my mum dead in her early fifties, her brother
soon afterwards, and now the last of them, the youngest, but still hardly old,
at sixty-eight, desperate to join them.
At the hospital
Solly was there along with his wife Rose, who hugged me, whilst Solly gave me
his usual ambiguous look; I could not work out if after all these years if he
still loved me or was embarrassed about a relationship that had been so long
ago, and secret, so that we could never talk about it afterwards, or even when
we were in the midst of it. And there in the middle of us centre was my Aunt
moaning slightly, partially hidden by tubes and wires.
I bent over her
Auntie I managed to say, but struggled not to gag so overwhelmed was I by
the smell of shit and something that might have been cancer or death. For a few
minutes I tried to hold myself together, and to talk to my Aunt; but what could
I say, to this decomposing body that used to be somebody I loved? It
would have been far easier, if I had been on my own; but with Solly and Rose,
hearing every word, I felt self-conscious as well as everything else. Why
couldnt they go and get something to drink?
Eventually I could
bear it no longer and said a swift goodbye to my Aunt, who looked at me in
despair, and I mouthed an apology to Solly and Rose, and fled from the ward and
drove home, with the smell of shit still surrounding me, even after I had had a
shower and changed all my clothes.
Reader, he left
okay? Mike asked me.
Other than you
being late yet again, and my Aunt dying of cancer, yeah I am great.
I hugged him,
because thats what you do, although he smelt of drink and perfume and
obviously did not give a toss. But who else was there to hold me tight,
and make me feel better? He patted my back awkwardly.
It is not your
fault, well not about my Aunt. But why were you late?
Oh just a
couple of things I needed to do at work.
You are always
staying late, and you stink of perfume. Are you having an affair with that
stupid PE teacher?
I knew that I
shouldnt have asked; what was the point? I needed stability then, a drink
and a cuddle; what was the point of forcing it to a crisis? But I was
tired and upset, and I wanted him to deny it, to say that it was all my
imagination, just a little crush, nothing more, that he loved me and that he
loved our daughter.
He sat down heavily
and I sat down opposite him where Miriam liked to sit with her headphones on,
oblivious to us both. She was upstairs with her friend Dawn, and I wished
that they would come down so that I did not have to carry on this potentially
fatal conversation, overwhelming us with her own concerns, so that we forgot
what I had just said.
I am not
happy, he eventually told me, I dont think that either of us
are happy, we are just living.
thats life, nobody is happy all the time; but you have a wife and a
daughter, and a good job. Jesus Mike, you could be doing a lot worse.
but I am sure that I am driving you down.
So this is for
me. You are having an affair for me?
I am not sure.
I really dont know.
He sat opposite me
looking self-pitying and generally rather pathetic.
Let me help
you make your mind up. You can leave; go to your girlfriend, go right now.
Presumably that is what all this nonsense is about, you have that attractive
colleague, someone new. Jesus, you are in your forties, what on earth are you
There is no
I laughed, oh,
eloquently, and then I remembered, of course she is married; well you
havent handled that very well have you? Now pack your stuff and
fuck off. And I sat down and put a quiz show on the television, whilst he
banged about upstairs and eventually slammed the front door and drove off.
The Solipsism of
It took Miriam three
days to notice that her father had gone; he had often worked late, and with her
A Levels so close she was either at school or in her room, unaware
of the crisis going on around her. Meanwhile I spent my evenings going through
our photograph albums and pulling out the pictures of Mike and trying not to
think of what he was doing and with whom. I tried to read, but Emma had lost
its charms and I could not concentrate on even the lightest of books.
I had not even told
my dad, as I felt he would be very upset; he and Mike had a very relaxed
relationship, despite having little in common, and dad did not need to worry
about me along with all his other activities. Anyway, I thought that
perhaps things might come back together, I found it difficult to believe that
this was the end; rather it was just a time apart, whilst Mike got his head
together and realised that affairs when you were both married tended not to
It was May and
things were coming to an end; Miriam would soon have done her A
Levels, and then it would be the end of school term soon and Mike would have
the summer holiday ahead of him. Meanwhile my Aunt continued to hold onto
her life; I had not gone back to see her since embarrassing myself, although my
dad visited her that week, after Food Bank, stroking her hand and telling her
about his day, and presumably talking about his daughter who was very sad but
he was not sure why.
Where has dad
Just away for
a bit. I am sure he will be in touch soon.
just when my exams are due. He should be here with me, not gallivanting
At first I felt
cross that she was being selfish, but I knew that she wasnt, that she was
upset about something she did not understand, and that her exams were
important, after all we had been telling her so for the last couple of years. I
gave her a hug.
worry love I told her, we will cope, but there was plenty to
worry about including the house and money and so I went back to the photograph
I sent him
photographs from our wedding, cut up and with the word pervert
written on the back of the envelope, it was childish, but it felt good. And
then I sent him demands for money, some of which he answered with a cheque and
eventually he created a direct debit. In fairness he had always been a
I wondered if this
meant that our marriage had been a failed one. Does a bad ending mean that the
whole thing did not work? Or didnt the good times mean that it was a
least partially successful? Maybe in years to come I could talk about it with
Mike; subjectively, when the hatred had gone, but not now.
His life became
mysterious over the next couple of years, with Miriam filling me in on a few
details; a change of job and a move to Ely, and then a lover (not Alissa). One
time she told that they had been talking about me and that he sent his love,
and that moved me more than a casual remark should have done. And for a few
days I wondered if he would telephone, but he didnt and I realised that I
Angelas father died when he was having sex with her mother. We were
drinking coffee in the staffroom when she told me. It was lunchtime and
everybody else was out.
I giggled when she
told me and then apologised, feeling embarrassed.
It is okay; it
was a long time ago; I suppose it is funny, and at least he died
I could not think of
anything to say that wasnt inappropriate or private, and the silence
grew, and she looked at me with an unfriendly stare. In the end I said, I
okay, she told me, as I said it was a long time ago, and she
picked up a book and started to read, her mouth in a disapproving pout. We
rarely spoke again.
In bed with her
That summer I was
happy with just Miriam and me; Miriam was much less stressed as she thought she
had done well in her exams. Whilst she waited for her results, she worked
in McDonalds and went out with various friends, but she still had time
for her mother, and we became as close as we had been since she was a teenager.
Even my Aunts
death cast no shadow; it was a relief more than anything, and I could remember
her as the affectionate woman who had always been there for me, and cared for
me like nobody else. At the funeral I hugged Solly and Rose, and I could see
that although they missed my Aunt, they too were relieved.
In September I spent
a week in Leeds with Jayne, who I had met when we were both undergraduates and
had stayed in touch with, on and off, over the years.
You could move
up here she told me, there are plenty of library jobs I am sure,
and Miriam will be going to University soon and beginning her own life. And it
would be lovely to have a friend close by.
doesnt want to go University, at least not yet, she wants to get a job,
and live at home; save up some money.
Yes, but she
wont be living with you forever.
I hugged Jayne
tight, I am okay, honestly, we both are. But I will visit you more than I
And then I met
Michael (not Mike thank goodness), who worked at Clifton library. I had seen
him in the occasional meeting before, but never spoken to him, although I had
noticed how handsome he was, however that Autumn I did a training course at the
city library, and Michael was there, and we talked and talked. I cannot
remember what the training course was about it involved computers I
imagine -. But I do remember Michael sitting next to me, smelling of something
manly and exotic and being so kind and easy going, and for the first time in
awhile, making me feel desirable.
Of course life
is ultimately tragic. My head was on his bare chest whilst I stroked his
pleasantly soft tummy, and he talked as he liked to do.
Oh you are
sounding like something out of an East German Black and White film.
I muttered, trying
not to choke on his chest hair. He chuckled slightly.
But I am
serious; people get old, lose their faculties and die. Even some young people
die; my cousin die in her thirties of breast cancer, leaving behind her husband
and three children. He stroked my back for a moment and I could tell he
was thinking, preoccupied there are no happy endings; even you and I, in
thirty or forty years will be gone, but we will probably lose our minds or
control of our bodies long before that.
But there are
moments of happiness, I told him after a moment, and reached up and
kissed him, and they make everything worthwhile. Oh Michael you sound
like a defrocked priest or bishop turned atheist.
yes I was brought up in a Christian household and for a long time I
believed in Jesus and redemption, but people started getting old and dying, and
well I realised that life was pretty horrid and no talk of redemption was going
to make it better.
miserable bastard I said, only half-jokingly.
We stayed together
for a couple more months; but I did not want someone so downbeat, who seemed
devoid of happiness and joy, despite his outward charm and wit. I began to
realise that he was self-absorbed and that I did not enjoy being with him.
After I had ended the relationship, I found that I was happy enough on my own,
despite occasionally missing a bit of romance or someone to talk to during the
long evenings, and I soon got used to even that.
Soon after we
split-up I was put on a warning at work after a row with Jake, perhaps I was
unhappier than I thought, or had stopped being patient with fools. I had my
six-monthly supervision, which usually went without a hitch, but this time Jake
only gave me a three out of five for my performance (room for
improvement) and then in great detail - told me what these
improvements could be. Perhaps he too was unhappy, had had a row with his
fiancée, or wanted to show that he was in charge, but it was a stupid
thing to do and unfair.
complaining to Jakes superior or to Human Resources (who no doubt would
have upped my grade) I started shouting at him, whilst he sat there, staring at
bastard, I have propped you up for so long, and if I am only worth a
three god knows what you are worth.
need to calm down. He said, looking nervous and pleasingly scared.
down, I shouted, you are such an idiot.
I realised that I
was shouting and that the other staff, and no doubt library users could hear my
outburst, and yet I could not stop, until I realised that I was crying and so
left his office; grabbing my things and heading home, my colleagues staring
after me trying to hide their amusement and glee.
Incredibly I was not
sacked, but I was put on a warning and given a severe talking to by someone
very senior, and I knew that it was time to go, to start anew. And so I started
to job hunt in earnest.
I rang Jayne.
I have seen a
job advertised at Headingly Library, thats near you isnt
said sounding not quite as pleased as I had expected her to, yes it is,
although I have moved in with someone now, over in Burley, so I am not in
Headingly very often, in fact I will be giving up my flat soon.
We had not seen each
other, or even spoken much since my visit and now her life had clearly moved
on, and she was not so desperate for a friend as she had been.
worry, I wont be always popping in and I laughed but in the end I
did not apply for the job; I had a father and a daughter to worry about and I
could not up and leave them to live in a strange city, where I was not wanted.
In the end I got a
job as a Local History Librarian in Derby central library, another library
authority, with nobody I knew. It was a bit of a trek, but I soon got
into the habit of it, and actually enjoyed the drive, listening to The Today
programme on Radio 4, or to one of my Bob Dylan compact discs. The job was fun
and much better paid, and my colleagues at Beeston soon became a memory to be
looked back on with amusement, and the subject of many an anecdote, even my
melt down during my last supervision became a humorous story to be repeated to
colleagues and at parties.
I spend much of my
time thinking of death, and wondering if there is such thing as a happy one;
the aged rock star dead in a hotel room, high on cocaine, Michaels cousin
dead in her thirties, mourned by her young family and the Victorian young
woman, a death that was beautiful and poetic, but still death.
And I wonder how I
will die; I am becoming more alone, my daughter is talking of moving abroad
with her boyfriend to teach English in South America, and I have a feeling that
she wont come back, or at least not to Nottingham. Will I be one of
those found dead, after the neighbours complained about a funny
smell? Or my life slowly fading away in the City Hospital, like my Aunt;
a burden to nurses and visitors alike?
Solly and Rose have
remained in touch since my Aunt died, and that is a pleasant surprise, so
perhaps they would notice if they had not heard from me in a few days, or would
they think that I was just busy and not worry. Would I be like the young local
Councillor I once met, who lived alone and died of a brain haemorrhage one
evening? Her death only discovered because of her worried colleagues at
the bank where she worked? Or the middle-aged man, who died of a heart attack,
his local Pizza Parlour, alerting the police after he failed to order his usual
Often my life is
happy, I have a job that fulfils me and I have more friends than I have had
since I was at University; but I know that I am travelling towards to my final
destination; I dont know when it will be or how soon I will arrive, but
it is there, hidden in the dark and rain, waiting for me to disembark.
I spent far too much
time worrying about my dad; wondering if my days would be spent as his carer,
tending him as his faculties slowly deteriorated. In fact it was all very quick
and seemingly painless. Dad had a cleaner, who was excellent, and had a key,
and she found him dead in bed one morning, rang the hospital and called me,
just as I was about to set off for work. He had not given any sign of being ill
or in decline, and had spent the previous day at CAB, helping Nottinghams
poor and vulnerable. I was glad that he had been living the life that he wanted
right up until the end.
Solly and Rose
proved to be very helpful and came round to my house that evening and many
evenings to come.
We know what
it was like after mum, Solly said and he hugged me tight, but we
will do all that we can.
you. And I looked at the two of them, so kind and loving.
He had a good
life and a good ending. He did his best and lived for others, Solly
I wept, but he
is still dead and I am bereft.
And they sat round
me, stroking me, whilst I cried and then we started to plan his funeral.