It’s the craziness of it all – the whole thing. Sitting here in my dad’s chair, in the window. He’s here, but he isn’t. A short time ago the room was full of him. Then I watched him drain away in a sad hospital bed. Picked up his holdall with pyjamas and an electric razor – the watch I wear is his. He built the wardrobes. It’s his house. Even though I sort out the bills and the insurance, rifle through the bench drawers for a screwdriver, it’s his house. Much of it a result of his physical effort. All a result of his hard work. His house.
Christmas day. My daughter and I sat at the dining table. My mother was upstairs. There was a lull – maybe my son was off with his girlfriend somewhere. C and I sat and chatted, or maybe we weren’t saying anything, when a shadow caught my eye. Someone walking into the kitchen from the hallway. C looked up, seeing the shadow pass in the glass of the display cabinet, in front of the jubilee plates and crystal glasses. I looked at her. “Did you see that?” “Yes. What was it?” “I don’t know.” Whoever it was knew their way around the place. Like they’d walked that way for a lifetime.
And I’m sitting here in this armchair, “Naked Lunch” on one arm, banjo against the other. Tomorrow I drive back down to the South-West, dropping into Bristol to pick up some notes. N is in Africa – Victoria Falls for New Year. Crazy.
Next month I’ll start my visits. 2014 is the year of visits – and banjo – and guitar. Madrid. Visit Nic and Claudia. Italy. Visit D. K in Cumbria and I want to pick up from DFW, board a Greyhound and wash-up on a beach in Southern California, see Salinas, Santa Barbara and work up to Frisco, Berkeley. Check out Steinbeck and Kerouac. Hell, why not? And if I have to go by myself I damn-well will.
My mam gets that we have to do what we have to do. Whether my kids get it, who knows?
Have you seen how many dead-people there are? The worst human legacy is regret.
I need to read my Spanish notes again. Skype Claudia. I need to fit this in with everything else. Job. Family. Guitar. Banjo. Life. You have to live, man.
I just need time. Time to breathe. Time to read / write. Time to think and to talk and to travel. And time devours lives. My cousin is 63. My mother 78. My kids are pushing 30. You turn your back and it’s gone. Soon, N will be back (God willing), but then I’ll be 52. B-52. Rand flew B-52s. Rand was a good guy. I liked him. What the hell am I meant to do?
This is a crazy life.
Sportsmen think they have it made. One interest. One goal. But it’s 2-5% of life. Do they get that? So they succeed. Fix the 2-5% of their life, but 95% is a mystery to them or, worse still, they die without ever being aware of it. And that is success?
At least intellectuals die in humility. I’ve seen a lot of people with a lot of money, but in the end we all wonder about the same things.
Layer-upon-layer-upon-layer. We just build on the ruins of previous failures. Every success is destined, in the end, to be another failure. Dream of the good times. Keep dreaming, keep digging, keep building. Keep trying.
I dreamt, last night, that I knew what I was doing. The girl said “I love you, Kev.” But it was just a dream.
This is a crazy life.
Copyright Kevin Buckle 2013