Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Glimpses of JR

It’s the folded piece of paper that I come across among the pages of my 2015 work diary yesterday in my office, when I’m searching for something else.  It reveals itself to be the receipt for food and drinks served on the day we buried you.  ‘John Russel funeral’.  Missing one ‘L’ in Russell. 

It’s the ‘beautiful day’ comment when I’m so distracted with work that I didn’t realise that the shining sun is welcoming the month of May.  You could never understand how I was so unaware of the weather when I would speak to you on my lunch break of sorts, eating a sandwich at my desk.    

It’s the man walking across the lobby today.  He has the cut of your jib, one hand in the pocket of his good trousers, walking along awkwardly, minding his back now, damaged over years of hard graft.  It’s the brightly checkered short-sleeved shirt, the copper magnetic bracelet, hair combed to one side making a good attempt to conceal the bald patch, the strong leather belt accentuating his soft pot-belly.  Either here to see his consultant, or accompanying his wife to see hers, but she’s nowhere to be seen.  He looks lost, but won’t ask for help.  He is jingling keys in his pocket.

It’s the receptionist as he registers my mother.  

The usual.  



Date of Birth.  

‘Single or married?’ he asks her.  

When she replies ‘widowed’, he doesn’t react and keeps typing, head down.  

Despite the fact that he has just punched me in the stomach.  

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