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The dead are never far, I have learned this. They weave themselves out of air in the corner of my eye, they wait in corners, on pavements, they step out from shadow and slanting light. They walk through walls and longings and dreams.

I grew up with them, but I used to fear them and so did my brother. Nowadays, I don't. I do not see the dead very much. Partly this is because I am reclusive and private, partly because since 1989 I have only ever really looked for one man in thier midst.

He is not intrusive. We no longer need to shout at one another to be heard. Love does not stop with death, I know this now. Sometimes, relationships improve. That is the other secret.

Increasingly these days I feel him. Perhaps because this is his time of year. His anniversary of death, and the approaching of Samhain, the end of the old Celtic year, the Festival of the Dead. The winter is thier season but I no longer greet it with the same despair.

There are moments, like a quiet room i go into inside my mind and feel in that space my father's hand clasp mine.

See me as he sees me, feel for a moment what he feels - a wild flare of pride and affection, and something else ephemeral, a rueful wryness that is not quite regret.

I am this marvelous thing that he created, and yet, he fucked up and he knows it and i can feel from him not self-blame so much as waves of humour and self-deprecation. I have grown, I have sprung away from him like Jack's beanstalk, shooting off overnight in my own direction and we are closer and more distant now than we ever were.

i can feel waves of thoughts from him. He likes my hair and is not crazy about my choice in men (but what father ever is) and he thinks I am beautiful but I am his daughter and fathers tend to be biased that way.

I know the choices I make in my life are not always ones he would have done, but that he is glad I am making them and having the courage to follow my own heart especially when it leads onto roads less travelled.

On the clear days, he is everywhere.
In the fall of leaves, the shape of clouds, the drifting space inside every room. A footfall, a whisper, a sigh.

On the way home, he inhabits the air and silence and the rain.

I feel the shift when he walks into a room, his presence, patient and silent, the flare of thoughts inside my head, the flash in a mirror.
Occasionally I get the urge to write and I pen questions, and when the time for answers comes I feel a gentle pulling on my hand that holds the pen and lettering more elegant than my scrawl flows across the page.

Sometimes, a song comes on in my head, music, I often hear music and occasionally walking throuhg the house, or other people's houses I get enveloped by the scent of the cologne he wore. I feel an echo, the slight prickling of his cheek against mine.

His hand, not bound by body now, which can reach in across distance and space and time to hold my heart. For a moment we drift together and the long rifts in me are healed but they have been healing slowly for years, since the moment we started to communicate again.

Sometimes, forgotten photographs seem to leap out of books into my hands, the echo of his grin like a fingerprint. There is he, or there are we with the backdrop of oleanders and cypress and green hills, outlined in the sunset's russet and gold.

Often, I find small things in my path which I swear were not there a moment ago. A 5 penny coin, a feather, a bright yellow flower. The flash of his smile, irrepressible.

These are his touches upon the earth.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 31st, 2003 12:04 am (UTC)
Gold star - élève appliquée


Good use of metaphor. Watch out for clichés.

No, only kidding - good stuff ! Exactly what a writer's diary should be all about.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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