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.