The vibrancy has gone from the green. Leaves are getting ready to fall.
The school preparations are nearly done, although Girl2 will be happier once she has mastered the knotting of the new tie.
The end of August is in sight, but the temperatures are those of later in the year. “Like October” said the weatherman, and nobody was surprised. We’ve all been putting on the heat. People have been spotted out and about in winter coats, scarves and hats. Children are donning the warm things without being told.
On the other hand, I just found the linen trousers I put away carefully for the summer. I’m wearing them. I’m wondering where I put the thermals.
I lived in a small town in the west. We had fields behind, a lake in front, lakes all around. Far enough from the border for it not to loom, close enough for it to be an everyday reality. Regular life in Northern Ireland in 1982.
But changes were ahead. I was planning on going to university. I didn’t know any students. Past pupils from my school came home at Christmas, smug and worldly wise, too busy being grown up to discuss their new lives.
I’d intended to go to England, but wasn’t brave enough to head away into the world on my own. Belfast was far enough. I’d never stayed there overnight. Belfast was scary, but at least my accent would be understood there, and I could go home anytime I wanted. Small steps.
We all prepared for my student life together: Herself, the Old Man, the Brother and I learned everything we needed to know from TV. We laughed and winced and cringed and learned a whole new vernacular.
Rik Mayall died yesterday. Thank you, Rik for all the family fun.*
*not “family friendly”
She chose the dress. She got the flowers. It was a special day.
For the first time in months she was going to visit her mum and dad.
There was hugging and food and giggling with the auntie, and then they all headed off. They wrapped up warm, and squashed into the car.
She touched up her lipstick on the way.
As if they were actually there.
As if she could hold them, or feel their warmth.
But they are long gone, and know nothing of the lipstick, the wintry wreath or the stones she has carried faithfully from the beach.
Back in the car, heat made its way back into their bones and they told tales of the parents. Gone too soon, but gone. Living on in us.
I must be getting on a bit; the years are going by more quickly, old man. I’m still singing along. Still crazy after all these years.