Saturday, February 18, 2006

1986 Memory

My father's mother, the only person to whom I have ever said goodbye, properly, before they died: I remember her holding a paring knife, and peeling apples before she sliced and ate them. Her hands: red, and wet, and athritic: the apple peel curling onto newspaper in her lap. Also I remember the tart taste of the apples.

Each image carries with it a sense of loss, even if the loss is tinged, no matter how faintly, with relief. Age carries strange burdens with it, and one of them, perhaps inevitably, is death.

But I must not brood. The path of memory is neither straight nor safe, and we travel down it at our own risk. It is easier to take short journeys into the past, remembering in miniature, constructing tiny puppet plays in our heads. That's the way to do it.

-- from The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean