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The Other Side of Everything

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Written on November 9, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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It is a beautiful autumn but a gloomy time. My neighbour’s daughter lost her life on Hallowe’en. Everyone here has been touched by the death. She is to be buried this afternoon, a service to be held in the church opposite, the entire estate due to be present as the carriage sets off. Ronnie downstairs is replanting his friend’s garden for the occasion. The bins will be empty and all the leaves swept up. The caretaker even arranged for the stairwell to be steam-cleaned yesterday – I had to shout at the waterproofed steamjet-wielding operative so that I could pass by. It transformed the concrete stairs into a dripping grotto for an hour.

Poor girl was young – two years and a decade all she had. I knew her and know her parents quite well, helped them set up their computer on a wireless network. I have been somewhat affected by this local drama, as I go through my own scare.

I have to go to Brighton in an hour, so I will not be at the funeral. I already gave my commisserations, for what they are worth. I don’t fancy the public display in any case. I am glad I will be working elsewhere.

Every seminal book or film or painting in my life has in some way helped me with my attitude towards sickness and death. At age twelve I was beset by body fears. I was convinced I was going to get bone cancer – I had seen the young Kennedy on TV limping and on crutches. I grew up and read Catch 22 fourteen times. I strongly identified with Yossarian’s morbidity. As I look back I can recognise that I have slowly dealt with the amount of negativity regarding my body and expectations of it’s weakness and failure, but not entirely. I transferred my expectations of disease and death into “more realistic” terms, so that instead of obscure childhood cancers, I now expect a heart attack, or simply an accident, to claim me.

I do have accidents. Last night, sober as a judge but much more hungry, I bit such a hole in my tongue whilst demolishing my evening meal that it didn’t stop bleeding for two hours. It is very sore.

“You know what live and direct means?” asked Aswad of the crowd at the start of their fabulous 1983 live album. “It means: live and direct…” I always found that a wonderfully bemusing entrĂ©e, and today, I cannot get it out of my head. Live and Direct, singing sweet melodies to a massive reggae backbeat, that’s what I want to be, not Dead and Indirect, in a puff of marijauna smoke, pushing up daisies.

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One Comment

  1. ladydaria
    Posted 9 November, 2005 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Very tragic, I am so sorry.

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