Monday, November 14, 2011

Emergency Soup

This was never intended as a daily/weekly update on goings-on and goings-out. But inevitably things crop up and one talks about them - and inevitably a picture emerges of the person who wears the persona of Signs. We are not overly shy about the Personal, me and the persona who we can call the Supposed Self. We even, on occasion, embrace the Confessional. But everyone knows (blogging peeps, I mean) that though one may appear to be telling the whole truth (albeit slant), behind the scenes Things happen. In Life, I mean (I am using a lot of capital letters and brackets today, I know). Sometimes a thing comes up and for one reason or another you can't possibly blog about it, but the thing is so big and so wide and so tall that it is like a fully-grown elephant in a small room and you can't carry on sipping your tea and eating your crustless cucumber sandwiches.

On the weekend I found out that someone died at the end of January this year. He came along when I was nine years old and the significance of him in my life cannot be overstated. For the last ten years or so - for reasons that are too complicated and strange to set down - he has been out of communication with everyone, apart from one person who took complete control over every aspect of his life. He was a respected, influential figure, well known, and there have been no obituaries because until a couple of days ago his death was kept secret (by the one person). News of his death came to me in the oddest way, the details around it would not be out of place in a Hardy novel, and it fell to me to pass the news on. It is like a firework that goes off and one spark creates uncountable others, each one an explosion that creates more sparks, more explosions. In the world generally there is much anger and grief, looking for a place to home in. I want and need to keep my head below the parapet, in this particular and a number of other situations. The parapet keeps tumbling down, leaving me exposed. Clear boundaries and protective structures never my strong point.

Mr. Signs and I went to the lovely Duke of Yorks cinema in Brighton yesterday to see the new Wuthering Heights, but after a while I began to shiver and it wasn't just the bleakness of the wet, windy moor and the fact that the cinema was (unusually) a bit cold. After the cut-off, I used to think I saw him, this man who promised he would not go without saying goodbye (he knew I couldn't stand it) from the car window or just turning a corner in the street where I walked - the grief/loss thing. After a while it stopped. Yesterday I thought I saw him slumped in the empty seat near me. But that wasn't why I was shivering. I don't mind apparitions, have often wished for them - not like Heathcliff wanted Cathy's ghost, but with my own kind of passion. I thought if he was dying or dead he would find a way of letting me know. I also thought my dead father would come and visit me in dreams. Neither have obliged.

I left Mr. Signs to watch the rest of the film and went back, caught a phone call from the man's son, who I have been close to, spoke about a memorial service, neither of us can face doing anything until next spring. He says he feels lighter, feels closure. I don't. We all process things differently. There was nothing in the house for supper. I found some red lentils in the cupboard and some old carrots and celery in the fridge. Put them into a pot with boiling water and Marigold bouillon, cooked until soft then pulverised with a potato masher. It did the trick. Emergency Soup. Sometimes you just have to go with what you have.


Zhoen said...

A Hardy novel, nightmare enough. Grief seeps in everywhere, stains always remain.

It's good to have emergency food, a can of chili, a can of chicken spread, frozen burritos, thoughtless food for the distracted.

These are my condolences.

Fire Bird said...

oof, that's a double blow indeed. a death being kept secret is new to me and makes me angry.

Anna MR said...

Beautiful Schwesterlein - my condolences come in the way of hugs. It's the only thing I know to do when people are hurting.

With you in spirit. You know where I am, should you want a shoulder, an ear, a hug...

Sending you a piece of music, hoping it will feel consoling.


Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen, it does, it does.

I am stocking up on cans and frozen things.

Fire Bird, it is an extraordinary thing to do, yes.

Schwes - lovely Musik. I have not heard it before. He would have appreciated also - there was a time when he would have.