Want to read Part 2?.......
“It’s almost that time of year”, I heard myself tell my sister who’d been prattling away on the phone about the mendacious neighbours she has living in the adjoining town house. The machinations of the Germans, normally so frustratingly obnoxious and a good subject of gossip, just wasn't important. It wasn't hitting the spot because I was distracted by something ultimately more upsetting that had been pervading my thoughts of late.
What was a rant in full flight was halted abruptly as she realised what I had said. A silence ensued in which she absorbed my words. “I know, I’ve been dreading it”, she responded, with a voice that had suddenly become small and almost lifeless. I immediately wished I hadn’t said anything; regretted dragging her back to a time when our lives and the dynamics in our relationship were changed forever.
“I can’t believe it’s been two years already; two of the longest and hardest years of my life”, I offered back as I instantly empathised with what she was feeling.
“Look, I’m not up for this right now, can’t face it today; why the hell have you brought this up now?,” she barked the question angrily at me. I let it slide because I knew her annoyance was a mask for the deep heartache and sadness that, like me, she carried with her every day.
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly to give her time to calm down before carrying on. “You know why; it’s almost April, the start of it all and I just want to acknowledge it; maybe because bringing it out into the open now, means it won’t be so painful a journey when the moments start to fall into one another like a set of bloody dominoes cascading out of control”. It was something of a clumsy analogy but the best I could offer at the time.
I heard the deepest of sighs as she gathered herself momentarily before the click, click, click sound of her shoes making contact with the faux marble floors of her house let me know she was on the move. The sound of a boiling kettle told me she was making a hot drink, perhaps buying time to think about what she wanted to say to me for I had clearly caught her at a bad time, but then since it all happened, every time was a bad time.
I didn't say any more but listened and waited, not wanting to rush her lest I made her bolt back into her dark place, her refuge, where she seemed to lose herself so much.
“What’s the point?”, she asks rhetorically when she finally comes back at me. “What’s the point of it all”, she asks no one in particular; they’re dead, all of them, and nothing we can do will bring them back.
Hearing her words and feeling the depths of her despair which so clearly matched my own, we both broke down, giving in to a grief of such deep intensity that it threatened to destroy us both because quite simply, neither was brave enough to face it head on, at least not for now.