Saturday 5 September 2015

In Memoriam

if glue could hold this family together

He used to sell glue - the kind that came in the little wide-bottomed plastic bottles with the stick fixed to the centre of the screw-on lid to spread it with. The kind that dried up on your fingers and you would spend several minutes carefully peeling off to look at your fingerprints. The kind with that nice glue smell that maybe made you a little high.

like their own words tear it apart
There was paper in his shop as well, the normal kind and the coloured kind for arts and crafts. They came in pink and red and green and blue and were not quite cardboard and not quite paper - some quaint in-between. They were great for random cards made in the middle of the night. Not so great for staying anonymous since they weren't easily found.

if love grew in silent spaces
And maybe that's where her love of stationery grew, on random visits to his stationery shop, few and far between, but filled with paper, glue and love. There was the quiet bustle of people at work, the clack of the calculator, the hum of the air-conditioning and the hiss of a fresh pot brought to boil for tea. And the comfortable silence of people who did not need to fill the empty spaces.

like you fill up a shopping cart

There was the corner coffee shop where he had his breakfast every day until the proprietor knew him and still asked after him years after he had moved away. She wondered if the coffee shop man had seen the obituary in the papers and maybe shed a little tear for a long time customer. Or maybe he too had passed on, contemporaries coming to the end of this temporary life.

then there'd be less whatsapp wars

He didn't like to complain. Why should he, when they weren't listening? Instead he grunted his displeasure, mumbling to himself, but tolerating them anyway, because - he wasn't sure why. Was it because they spoke over him because they loved and worried over him? Was it because he was too tired to argue any more? What were words but finely sharpened daggers?

on who's wrong and who is right

There was nothing left for her to say as she sat by his bedside, watching his belaboured breathing. It wasn't as if she had said much in his lifetime either, that she should say much at his end. But she reached over and held his hand, wondering if his half open eyes knew what he was seeing or if he was already too far gone to know she'd come. 

and maybe we'd hold together long enough

And maybe it was enough, if ever anything could be enough, that she had been present. That she'd allowed them to wash over her with the strength of their emotions, battering the gates she'd long erected in her heart. And as they release their memories into the night she remembered too, fixing in her heart and mind the man he'd been, hoarding what she could before time wrest it away. 

to survive the long dark night

There was joy in the morning - bittersweet but joy nonetheless. There was the ache of a semicolon in an unending line of praise; a pause in the lifespan of a soul. There was the pain of parting, where the physical took its rest and the spirit was released. But there is the laughter of the saints in the moment of reunion, when all that was meets all that is and looks forward to all that is to come. 


Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58