Letting Go by Abigail Wyatt
November 7, 2011 Comments Off on Letting Go by Abigail Wyatt
I must have said good-bye to you a hundred times but you never seemed to hear me. Now I am attending your funeral mass and the chapel is decently full. In defiance of your po-faced, apostate parents I have sent you white chrysanthemums. I asked the florist to temper them with shades of purple and blue. Your friends might say you would laugh at all the fuss but I think I know you better. You always saw more in public approval than you ever cared to let on.
‘It was family flowers only,’ your sister has informed me as we entered, elegantly tall with narrow hips and darkly probing eyes.
She reminds too much of the photographs, of your pouting alter ego. Though I wanted very much to outstare the challenge of those eyes, that memory was still too clear.
Watching the bearers carry you in, I feel suddenly smaller and much lighter. It is almost as if I am full of small perforations through which the smoke from the incense could blow. When the congregation rises to its feet, I sway and almost fall forward. My mother is too old and too frail to stand but her rheumy eyes narrow with concern.
‘Are you alright?’ she mouths; and she holds out a hand that cannot reach me.
I receive her gaze like two small drills until, finally, she looks away.
I don’t know if I am alright but I want to believe that it is possible. After the committal, I will shed a few tears, then walk calmly away. And let that be the end of it all. There can no longer be anything between us. Never again will your malted eye slide away from my gaze.
On my right hand side, suited and booted, my brother stands like a sentry. Square and squat, he shows ‘respect’ but also that he doesn’t give a damn. He never liked you. There was one time, I remember, he offered to have you ‘sorted’. ‘Nothing too serious’ was how he put it. I had only to say the word.
I didn’t, of course. Say the word, I mean. I still loved you madly. I already knew that the pain was coming but I had bowed my head before the fire. I wonder now, if I had said yes, how much that might have changed the outcomes. Perhaps you taking a beating then might have somehow saved us both.
Now we have left the music behind us and I hope that the worst may be over. My ‘sensible’ court shoes with the two-inch heel are sinking into the ground. I came here intent on forgiving you all but now I find I’m ambushed by anger. As I unclasp my fingers and the black earth falls, I know we will meet again.
© 2011 Abigail Wyatt
Abigail Wyatt writes for her life in the shadow of Carn Brea in Cornwall. Formerly a teacher at Redruth School, she is now very grateful to be able to descrbe herself as ‘a full-time writer’ and she would like to thank the editors of all the magazines that have published her work. Abigail Wyatt can be contacted at abigailwyatt.blogspot.com. Her poetry collection, ‘Moths in a Jar’ (Palores) was published in October, 2010.