He’s hums gently, sat with legs folded under thighs on a creaking wooden kitchen chair, he leans over the pieces. She’s sits on a garish orange striped, frayed nylon wall seat, her crossed leg jigging up and down in that feminine relaxed way. Low lamps throw a warm light across the caravan. He picks a piece and without hesitation, places it in the puzzle. The pieces haven’t been loosely grouped by colour or by their straight edges; he places his random picks directly. He hums, her leg jigs, and she turns another page of what she calls, “a brain in a handbag book”, reading stuff she craves after the intensity of study. It’s calm down time on the site, on the planet.
My dad sits in his corner, all cardigan and calloused hands, sipping a pint and the Angel of Death swoops, taps me on the shoulder,
“We put another good man down this evening, Sniffle”.
“Night Cormac”, who then puts his head right up close to mine, invites me into the conspiracy and tells about the hurriedness and the hospital. It’s dangerous to ignore Cormac; we’re not sure exactly how early he knows about these things. His black cloak and scythe are an ever-present in my puzzle, framing my middle-aged melange.
A re-occurring smudgy bit arrives, a good friend with innumerable joiny knobbly hard to fit protrusions, a sparkly piece that I keep picking up and then throw back cause I can’t figure where it fits. He orders a pint and sits. The truth is he doesn’t fit it into my puzzle but is interested in my journey and sees it better from the outside. He’s part of the puzzle but not, if you know what I mean.
I was always able to run from the darkness part before. I had the energy and fitness, never noticed how it might sit and linger, hold you in a corner and worry you. It’s different now, working the pieces, the knowing and sometimes knowing too much. It’s a tricky patch and you just try to do the right things, make the logical moves and don’t wreck anything, wreck relationships, start unnecessary fights. Its part of the journey, that long tree tunnel in a wintry twilight, and you lay down the pieces as best you can and hope that spring comes soon.