Saturday, March 29, 2014

The pilgrimage, one of us and hurrying away.

1. In the dark hours I am administering a dose to my feverish boy. I glance at the clock, 3.30am, and instead of worrying about my child, I think of Lucy, who will be starting her long pilgrimage to Joe's funeral.

2. I have been pacing around the cemetery while I wait. When I return to the crematorium there is a man sitting on a sunny bench -- a sunny bench just right for watching and observing and recording life and nature. He is scrawling in a generous loose hand on an A4 pad so I know, I just know, that he's one of us. "Are you here for Joe Hyam's funeral?" he says. It's Tristan of The New Emotional Blackmailer's Handbook.
"I've come in my eight ton truck," he says. Later Lucy and I see it pulling out of the gate, hurrying away from all the small talk. We wave like mad -- we can see his mirrors, perhaps he can see us.

3. Joe's coffin looks too small to contain all those words and all that wisdom and all that good cheer. I give it a wave as I leave the chapel, just as I would have seeing him and Heidi across the park. I think he's hurried away, though, gone somewhere more congenial.

4. It is marvellous and rather comforting to see variations of Joe's features in his family's faces and in their manners and in their voices.