The fishing boat returns to the river trailed by hundreds of seagulls scavenging the remains of their catch, with the sun moments ago creating an illusion to those on the city hills of a deep red fire in the surrounding woodlands but now bequeathing us only shadows to switch our hearing to the primary sense. The birds cry and the motor putters upon the water somewhere not too far from me; yet really a million miles from me as I sit waiting for the passenger ferry to arrive; scheduled, safe and light. I buy my fish from the supermarket. There is no chaos or death here, perhaps a bit cold for comfort so I adjust my scarf to keep warm until the ferry arrives. Almost certainly on time.
I saw him last. It was late evening, cold and dark, waving to me as he often did, in a petrol forecourt. I was too busy to talk, I barely made a nod in his direction. I’d lost my front door key and needed to get money for a child’s Christmas performance. If I was quick enough at the ATM I’d be able to trace my last steps and find the key. I had a plan to bring order from my chaos, but I had to hurry. He drove away on his motorbike to deliver emergency blood between local hospitals; also bringing order from chaos. Maybe if I’d spoken to him and delayed his journey…
Pointing my mobile phone into the car park gutter with its torch app running… Nothing! A complete waste of time. I’d now have to get a new key cut. More money. I’d only just had the car taxed and tested, and to add insult to injury I now had to go and fork out even more just to see my own child singing some carols. I could hear the ha-ha-ha-ha from the gulls overhead. Nothing in life is fair, it’s an illusion through the trees of warmth and light, but it sets coldly on each and every one of us.
He died around the same time I was muttering to myself about a £3 ticket to raise funds for the choir my Son attends. He volunteered his spare time in delivering much needed blood supplies for lifesaving operations to take place. He was also the school caretaker that every child loved. Patient and funny. A stalwart of the community and an example of how action rather than words should be paramount in living ones’ own life. A kind spirit. And I had saw him last. Dismissed him with my own trivial concerns. His last thoughts of me I’d rather not contemplate…but of course now a necessity.
The following morning the teachers had to let themselves in via an emergency exit. The school had lost their keys too. Like many who have completed their work here in this life, whether suddenly or expectedly, making their keys a mismatch to the locks we once believed were certain. Almost certain. We can never recut them, we have to accept that chaos is just as much a part of our fragile existence as order itself and begin to crack the meaning from the sheer senselessness of it all. Thank-you for your recent visit to The Lemon Circus. I hope your scarf keeps away the biting winter winds until our own ferry arrives, peace always ❤