In the spirit of hope, but with little faith, I approach an assessment of my life – that which is past and that which is to come. I gaze down the corridors of time, which stretch relentlessly in both directions. Every sin, in the shadows behind me; ahead, the reparations still to be made; beyond that, the light. Oh, the light. I have done things that may prevent me from reaching that light, but I still recognise myself. I have strayed from the ways the pastor has taught me are right, but I know who I am. I know what I have done, and why. And I can argue.
I am lying on the bed that we shared, on a velvet
throw the colour of juniper, with the child on my belly. She twists
round and I raise her to a standing position, marching her up and down
me so that she beats out the rhythm of my indecision on the xylophone of
my ribs. Leave. Stay. Leave. Stay. I drape her with the feather
boa her mother left behind, and she giggles.
I should have gone
before, but I could not be parted from my little waif. I still can’t. I
want to stay until she can fly, until the stem of her life is fully
planted, has developed roots, delivered fruit. I will go then.
I will go now. I can do her no good. I cannot undo what I am. Who I am.
play the voice; I will sing her into adulthood, will send out the
streams of wishing into the air that will surround her. I will read
weather forecasts and study charts; I will play my voice into the
prevailing winds, from east to west, so that it resonates around her in
the darkness of the day before. I will pray. I will watch her from
afar, this child and the children to come, her brothers and sisters yet
unborn whom I will never know. They will be cross about the mystery of
me, the silence that surrounds my name. There will be a place
ring-fenced for this one in my heart, while I am off at the other side
of the world, chaining my dreams to a small place and running, running
to feel alive. Or at least, not dead.
Copyright of this post belongs to Jill Glenn