You’d be forgiven for thinking that the human body couldn’t run out of tears, but you’d be dramatically, and, painfully mistaken.
Walking from fence to fence, door to door, house to house, I often wondered, as the sun was setting, cooling the earth at the end of yet another day, a day that not so long ago I pondered what would bring, what life is like for the people behind each of those closed doors. It’s the curiosity that is being a human that makes you dream about what the lives of others is like, letting yourself, for just a second, imagine a life different to your own.
As their cutlery clinks against what I can only imagine is their porcelain china, and the soft glow from television sets pours out onto the concrete that leads down a path to me standing on the end of theirs, my nose is filled with the smell of dinners, a neighbourhood of them. I think about what their hours, days and weeks are filled with. Is their life behind that door exciting, free, greener, challenging or painful? We are all but one in a world of constant, unexpected change.
The four of us sat around a half set table. It was easier to set half – it’s physically easier to clear a table that wasn’t full. Emotionally? Not so easy. But we still felt loved. Special. We gathered. Clink. Clink. Clink. Our own instruments orchestrating a symphony to bring question to those standing at the end of our path. Could they guess our meal?
Ring. Ring. Ring. A phone, mounted on the wall begged to be answered.
She isn’t here at the moment.
We really need to speak with her. We have her listed.
She is interstate. We will try and reach her.
Unanswered questions began.
Call. Call. Call. No answer. This is all too odd.
Ring. Ring. Is your Mum there? I really need to speak with her. There has been an accident.
She is interstate. Is everything OK?
She sounded concerned but still happy, something must have happened but it obviously isn’t that serious. Her calmness reassured me, and if she could be that calm then it mustn’t be that bad. The meal at the table was getting cold. The smell filling the neighbourhood was much less too. The sun had truly set. Not even minutes went by…
He is dead.
The whole world began to close in. When the world collapses, it does so mile-upon-mile, quickly, like a blanket of tunnelling darkness, in magnitudes far greater than you could possibly ever imagine. But it only feels like inches in time, because it’s painful, slow. I was torn between the confusion of her calmness, and the broken voice of pain now entering my soul. How could God, a being of exponential power, take two people from the one family, from this one person? That’s really all she would have left between them. Why would you do it again?
Being the eldest I took the responsibility to break yet another world.
Call. Call. Call. —
They too couldn’t believe what I shared. Who could? No human couldn’t bare imagine so much pain be set upon the small world that already remained.
Her flight must have been long coming home. Looking back I wish I could have hugged her as she journeyed. She would have done that for me.
The drive over to be with the family was surreal. A voice in my head echoed, one that I still don’t know was mine, trying to keep me together, or, his, doing the same.
Ivan! I’m still here! It’s ok! I’m still here!
The next few days would see our tears dry. It’s strange how the body, almost as if it is trying to keep you safe, runs you stale from crying. One arrives at a point where you can cry no more. Then you begin to talk. With others. With those that knew him. Each of you sharing stories. Stories they could only have experienced having known him. [Her] pain however would go on longer. [Her] tears running out less quicker. It’s as if their human body kept them crying longer, to keep them safe, nourished almost.
I’m sure the person walking down his street the evening before would never have thought his day was tomorrow. That a power-line, struck by the truck he was near, wouldn’t have come down to rest upon the floor to which he was washing down after a hard days work, at only 23, stealing from him his last breathe. But fate is strange.
As evening approaches today, and people begin to bring their families together, collectively seated around the table, the senses will once more be bought to life within our neighbourhoods. The sounds of meals delicately savoured from our plates by the forks upon which we use, the very forks that life offers each of us every day should we so wish to choose. Leading us down paths we may or may not wish to take.
On thing is certain though; the light upon which illuminates the path from your own door is what you so make it today. It can be an example of something worth living to someone standing afar, looking in, wondering what your life is like.
For it does go on.