Walking downhill to my car – which was valued @ £100 recently, I looked down at my feet and like a flash remarked to myself how different I didn’t feel as compared to me a decade earlier. This is the lie of growing up: for some, your dimensions change in scale thus making you unaware that time’s relentless purge has, and is, working.
All of a sudden I took stock – such an adult thing – and realised I was almost 27, Married, deeply in love, holding responsibilities, and about to drive a car. Fear, excitement, trepidation, and sorrow washed over me in waves. There were long summer days when all I worried about was the grasshopper I was hunting, or the accuracy of the slingshot my older brother Simon was making. These were the carefree days before I learnt how to conceal my tears, and my pain. (I’ve become so proficient at it they don’t even fall when I’m alone. When I feel the cry it is in much the same way as before but my eyes are too proud). The boy was dying, I needed to keep him alive.
What was the difference between us? Brutal Honesty. He was surviving on the fumes of my loud farts, on the rush while playing football. He loved it when I cared honestly for myself and others, or when while driving home, I marvelled at the yellow motorway streetlights that led straight into the red sunset (I used to tell myself, and still believe it sometimes, that God painted fresh sunrises and sunsets just for me). He loved standing in font of the grill and watching the fire, smiling without reflecting: enjoying the moment. Running for fun, rolling down hills, hiking, biking, and doing handstands.
But wounds from hurt people, threats from insensitive people, pain from fearful people, and lack of courage from myself – to swim against the tide – are chocking him.
I promise him I’ll try. They sound like the empty promises of a realistic – cynical – adult, given to an ever hopeful child. He hopes we survive.