There were red ones, lots of purples, some greens, but the predominant flashes of light were brilliant whites. The crowd gathered along the roadside, chattered on about each flash, with instant criticism and analysis, some even speaking into their mobiles with others in distant states as it continued on. Laying back on a blanket in the grass, S and I stared off over the golf course whispering back and forth as the show proceeded through the middle lull before reaching the finale. Our children were out somewhere in the dark, up close to the explosions, trying to find the closest spot to the cannons, where all the action was going down. The importance of proximity was all that mattered, to be near the immediate.
Perhaps with age comes the comfort in allowing for distance, to understand when silence is best suited, or when the time for comment is to be found. In old age, I also believe that different things are noticed, not the bright lights, the percussion, but rather scents, the shadows of eerie smoke patterns that are left behind and unseen in the darkness. The residue of the event is just as important if not more so than the actual explosion. In the detritus, meaning can be found, discovery recorded, and analyzed.
Once the final booms occurred, and the night fell back into darkness, we slowly made our way back home, dodging cars and people as we worked our way down the hill. The children would arrive behind us, taking their time, lingering for a bit in the chaos. The clanging of the gate, then a full table bathed in candle light, wine glasses, conversation. All the while cell phones buzzed with private conversations, plans being made for the next day, emails sent. Alarm clocks were set for an early morning, then everyone separated off for bed as the midnight hour crept closer. Yet for S and I, we settled in for one last glass of wine, one last cigarette before retiring from the day.
When one thinks of the definition of “cruelty”, it tends to be within terms of the physical sense of the word. Rarely do we examine it as something that is done strictly through absence. A distant taunt, dangling words of love, yet bearing out only in that alone, removing oneself from true interaction and investment. The raw chafe of emotional denial, with outright refusal for understanding and acceptance, defines the very wounds that are given from such actions. Those from ones own body are given to inflict the strongest and deepest harms, lashes posited without impunity.
The last glass of wine done, candles exhausted, we settled into bed. In the quiet moments before sleep, the only words that could be found, were the simplest and strongest of antidotes uttered. “I believe in you.”