a disintigration
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Life Seconds Numbering
by Andrew Lee-Hart



“Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,/ As we silently stood by his side…” (My Grandfather’s Clock)


Sweet Jane


“Emma? What on earth are you reading that for?”

“Miriam is 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 isn’t going to be her.  I haven’t looked at it for years, not since I was a student.”

“Rather you than me.”

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 some wine.

“I can’t stand Jane Austen; all those happy endings and moral lessons. It ain’t life. Give me Raymond Chandler any day; people get old, people die.  And nobody knows what is going on, not even the author.”

“I didn’t know you didn’t like Jane Austen, you an English teacher as well.”

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 wasn’t 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 work.”

“But I saved you some dinner, couldn’t you eat first?”

“I’ll have 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 couldn’t 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. 

“Zelensky” 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 Miriam’s 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.”

“Oh dad.”

“It is okay; it wasn’t me that she was angry with, not really, just the government or the system. I didn’t 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 dad’s 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 overdid it?

“She isn’t paid much, and why shouldn’t 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.

“Have you finished?”

“Hardly started. I will do a couple more and then come down, I can go into school early.”


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.


Downstairs I 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.



The Ox


He sniffed cocaine off a Gideon’s 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, tomorrow’s concert or his wife at home doing God knew what.


Next to him the prostitute – if that’s 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 evening’s 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 wasn’t there?  He had no idea. She knew he wasn’t 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 breathe.


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 Beethoven’s 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 hours earlier.



Library Display


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.

“People don’t 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 them.


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.


When the manager’s 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 Monica’s 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 wasn’t 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 Council’s 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 hadn’t 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 Light


London Argos, 2nd June, 1865

“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.”



Peg feed


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 Solly’s 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 Aunt’s 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 mother’s 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

“Good afternoon 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 couldn’t 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 me


“Are you 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 that’s 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.

“I am sorry.”

“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 shouldn’t 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 don’t think that either of us are happy, we are just living.”

“But that’s 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.”

“Yes I know…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 don’t 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 doing?”

“There is no girlfriend.”

I laughed, “oh, no Alissa.”

He blushed eloquently, and then I remembered, “of course she is married; well you haven’t 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 Teenager girls.


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 work.


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 gone?”

“Just away for a bit. I am sure he will be in touch soon.”

She sighed, “just when my exams are due. He should be here with me, not gallivanting off.”

At first I felt cross that she was being selfish, but I knew that she wasn’t, 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.

“Don’t 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 albums.



Postal Strike


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 generous man.


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 didn’t 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 didn’t and I realised that I was relieved.



Death and Love


My colleague Angela’s 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 happy.”

I could not think of anything to say that wasn’t inappropriate or private, and the silence grew, and she looked at me with an unfriendly stare. In the end I said, “I am sorry”.

“It is 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 lover.


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 McDonald’s 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 Aunt’s 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.”

“But Miriam doesn’t 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 won’t be living with you forever.”

I hugged Jayne tight, “I am okay, honestly, we both are. But I will visit you more than I used to.”


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.”

He laughed; “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.”

“You’re a 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.


Instead of complaining to Jake’s superior or to Human Resources (who no doubt would have upped my grade) I started shouting at him, whilst he sat there, staring at me, open-mouthed.

“You ignorant bastard, I have propped you up for so long, and if I am only worth a “three” god knows what you are worth”.

“You really need to calm down.” He said, looking nervous and pleasingly scared.

“Calm 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, that’s near you isn’t it”

“Oh” she 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.

“Oh don’t worry, I won’t 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, Michael’s 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 won’t 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 Saturday pizza?


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 don’t 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 Nottingham’s 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.”

“Thank 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 said.

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.




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