Friday, 25 July 2014

Happy Endings

'The only authentic ending is the one provided here. 
John and Mary die. John and Mary die. John and Mary die.
So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun.
True connoisseurs, however, are known to favour the stretch in between, since it's the hardest to do anything with.'

Taken from 'Happy Endings' by Margaret Atwood


This is what I am left with. Six years on.
I know the ending. The only ending.

What to do in the meantime? Attempt to become the true connoisseur, to favour the stretch in between those two inevitable, single file gateways?
That strange, bewildering gap.
It is, indeed, the hardest to do anything with.

My gratitude, my sadness, my happiness. My very self.
Always seem a little lacking.
When set against that small, dying body.
Perspective makes me cower.

I can't really make her death into something pretty or acceptable.
No matter how I squint or twist.
Looking at it too directly is still like. . . . well, like being stabbed in my observing eye.
And so I tend to look elsewhere.

I promised her I would never look away.
And yet.
Here I am.

Eyes right.


Next month, it will be six years since Georgina died.

I still think about her, and about what happened to her, a great deal.

Sometimes I feel disappointed that this is the case. That I didn't forge a happier ending for myself.
For my living children.

I load the dishwasher as the children sit, glazed, in front of yet another rendition of 'The Gruffalo' on DVD. She looks at me, annoyed. One eyebrow raised into her scarcely-there blonde hair,  'Really mother? Is this the best that you could do? With your life? With their lives?'

I shuffle around the kitchen guilty. Half heartedly stirring up craft drawers and homework folders. A flurry of pinterest induced shame and loathing.

Sometimes it is great fun. And sometimes it isn't. Three children and a mother.
None of us perfect.

In my more forgiving moods, I give myself a pat on the shoulder and say, 'Understandable Catherine W. old bean. You aren't really ever coming back from this are you? But that's ok. It's really ok. You knew that you never would. Even as it was happening.'

Three children and a fourth that flickers around, a faulty light.
One that I can't bear to look at as she'll bring on a headache.
But I can't let her go either.

And, if you are still here . . . .

Are you alright?

I wonder about people I met along the way.

How is the stretch in between working out for you?