Oh, beautiful Jack. Again, you astonish me. Somewhere in the wanderings and the lostness emerges a truth. It appears among people in the strangeness and simplicity of love. It manifests as sadness.
I turn down the corner of another page.
Early-morning bird-calls echo among the wet trees. They have the emptiness to themselves, as they did when I delivered milk to people, now long-dead, who slept under dripping eaves.
I awoke from a dream, packing ephemera into a case to leave a train. Leaving my Valentine behind to finish the journey alone. Drawing lines on a map to mark boundaries that don’t exist. The map showed my junior school – now empty. The classrooms all the wrong shape for fashionable teaching. Too small and solid. Too symmetrical.
A mile away, in the direction of the newer houses, stands the new school, on the site of infant classrooms built for us – now smashed. The smell of floor-polish and dinners atrophied away or blown in brick-dust. Great rectangles of optimism and stains of scrubbed knees buried under open-plan pedagogy and standards designed for an affluent age.
I left that school the year Jack died. Were those summers really so good? Jet Provosts circling endlessly in blue skies don’t tell lies.
Everything was new. There’s a point in time when it ceases to be so – when the wandering begins. The search for new faces and streets, new rooms and buildings. New conversations.
In the midst of all the madness and distraction are the moments of recognition found – in the moist eyes of Valentine. Moments stolen from God.
Copyright Kevin Buckle 2015