Friday, 18 October 2013


Late afternoon, I had gone to lie down;  for the first time in years, I felt that I really could not cope with what had happened in my family. I pulled open the covers and stretched out on the bed, fully clothed. I fell asleep instantly.
I was standing on a terrace of some sort with my faithful hound who was sniffing around as per usual. The air was clean, fresh. It was night time. We walked along the terrace. It was dark but we felt safe and carefree. At the far end of the terrace was an enclosure made of brick, painted white,  and upon closer inspection, it was a room with a door to it. The door appeared slightly ajar. The hound and I approached closer and pushed open the door. Inside was a man sitting on a chair and a dog at his feet. The man was looking out of a window that was held open on a hinge. I called the man: "Arnie! Arnie!" I called the dog: "Purdey! Purdey!" Neither acknowledged me or looked at me. The hound and I entered the room. We were so close to the man and the dog. "Arnie, it's me, Sam, your daughter. Purdey, this is Rufus, your son." The man looked up. "Oh! Is that my name?"

"Yes, you're my dad. Are you a ghost?"

"I suppose I am. Yes. I am."

"Let's walk a little. I'll just close this window in here in case it starts to rain..."

"No. Please leave that open. That's where I come from."

"Where do you come from?"

"I don't know."

"OK. We'll leave the window open. Purdey, don't you recognise Rufus?"

We walked around the terrace for a while.

The man/ghost/my father couldn't remember me at all. He didn't know who I was anymore. He was happy enough although in an indifferent kind of way. The dog/ghost/Purdey ambled around and Rufus didn't seem to see her although I could.

"Goodbye. I will go now."

The man/ghost/my father just walked off abruptly with the dog. He said nothing. Did nothing and felt nothing.

My past suddenly ended. My new life suddenly began. I understood by this final sign that I had done all that I could; my mother, father and the family of my childhood had all gone with the ghost who was slipping away and who I couldn't stop because he didn't even recognise me. There was nothing left for me to do. My beloved father had become a memory and would forever remain so. He now belonged to a place where it no longer mattered what I felt or thought because all I had left was the present and if I chose, a life on my own terms. I was alone, of course. And I would have to be brave.

Photo copyright SvD.

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