Sunday, 23 November 2014

The wave

The surly depths can conjure up that which we, even in our most concietful imaginings, would baulk at, with our carefully acquired hoard of ridicule and a pittance of spite we labour to, not quite, quell the urgings of doubt. The drama, comedy and tragedy of human life rolls along the well beaten path someone dies, another is born we spend the time lying, stealing--murdering, If I met an honest man I wouldn't know his name but he probably lost it, face down in a ditch. Then something like the wave happens, in this place so dense with miracle and catastrophe, you would've thought we'd learned some lessons regarding the unanticipated. That's not the case it seems, for even with the days that rain meat and kerosene in New York to remind us, the butterflies beat their wings unheeded.


'What was it like before the wave?', she asks, as if it was an ordinary question, what's your favourite colour, how many people are in the world, what is Father Christmas bringing me for Christmas?

Startled, I do my best to satisfy her curiosity, 'It was different--people were different--er no, people were the same, it's just that...'.

'You didn't know about the wave did you?'.

Such candour concerning the wave seems incongruous, I'm embarrassed, it's as if she asked me to explain birds and bees to her while we were under public gaze. 'No--I didn't--but some others... well they didn't exactly know about it, they...'. She's pouting now, the pinkness of her lips turning pale under the pressure of frustration. 'It's hard to explain sweetheart, it's like when you first went to school, you'd never been inside one before had you?'.

'No Daddy, I hadn't'.

'No sweetheart, that's rhetorical, you're not supposed to answer those kind of questions'.

'Sorry daddy'.

'It's not necessary to apologize sweetheart, not for those kind of mistakes'. As she falls silent for a few seconds, I allow myself to believe I've diverted her inquisition but the tension on her brow belies the motion of thought beneath.

'Sometimes... people make very big mistakes--ones they should apologise for--don't they daddy?'.  As the light catches her eyes fixed upon mine, I see a hint of heterochromia amongst the the green I once thought as uniform as the deep of the sea. Fugitive splinters of light, the tell tales of horse mackerel evading predators.

'Yes, sweetheart'.

'That's OK daddy--it was rhetorical'.

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