KEVIN 1Kevin:

The old saw , …what cannot be cured, love, must be endured…. …is a life lesson I suppose. We are , I am sure, all products of a sea lapping away at our bones …wearing our sharp edges smoother through time. We are at core the same but not an atom of our beginning , original selves, remain, .Dusts blown away in time- winds. That’s just life. Sometimes unbearable…sometimes sublime. We are all products of that sea.
Kevin died in 1992. Twenty two years ago. An entire lifetime for someone. I was thirty nine then ,Three children. Running a shop selling tiles and bathroom suites. Making ends meet. Paying the mortgage .Brain – fried! Kevin was forty. My father rang me at work with the awful news. He lived across the road from Kevin. I remember my mum had died six months previously in September 1991. She had had an awful time with a disease that caused muscle wastage and was only sixty eight when it took her,so it was all pretty raw for my dad and I. Kevin’s death blind-sided us both.I’m not sure if he saw the body, but he was very close to the scene.I never saw him go.Kevin had hanged himself from a rafter in the attic using a strong fishing line . It couldn’t have been either an instant or an easy demise.
Sometimes I think his death was the last howl of defiance in a life that had reached a dead end for him. It was not maybe what he had envisioned for himself or what he wanted. Of course, I don’t really know. I’ll never know.We weren’t teenagers anymore ,dreaming about unattainable girls and the next party. In 1980 , a week before I was to be wed , Kevin ‘s marriage was in meltdown. He was to be my best man but at that moment he had locked himself in the house. He finally dug himself out of that one and did his duties admirably, given his emotional state. Those photographs are probabaly some of the very few I have of him.
Here we were, eleven years later with a goodbye we wouldn’t share and a body none of us would see.
We were good friends but unalike in so many ways. Kevin didn’t seem to want to learn anything new. He never learned to drive for example. I think he was basically afraid to fail .He seemed happier in his inner world, head buried in a book. He’d never set a book down until he’d read it to submission, should it take all night.. In those last eleven years I’d been very busy doing new things I’d never done before:building a house from scratch, learning to spread myself thin as the parent of my three daughters, giving up smoking dope… My wilding Art School years well behind me..{ Ha! ]I hadn’t time to keep my eye on another ball. So we drifted off somewhat and only crossed paths now and again
..You always think there’ll be time….
I sometimes wonder how Kevin would have fared .He’s set in aspic in some ways as the rest of us get older and struggle with decrepitude.We’ve all lost parents now…all orphans of the future. He didn’t live to see his daughter’s wedding, years later when his brother did the honours for him admirably with a very funny and satirical speech, abrim with memory. His daughter was re-introduced to me as an old friend of her father’s. The little girl , now a grown-up American woman, would hardly remember much of that old history. I kept thinking, “You’ll soon be as old as your daddy”.”He’ll never get any older”. I never said anything, keeping those sentimental thoughts to myself .Time moves on. Things change . Her new”daddy” seemed a likeable enough fellow.
Kevin was long- ago dust , long blown away in the wind .
My father lived without my mother those past twenty odd years since Kevin’s passing before he too died.
That sea still lapping at our ankles.
Six months prior to his untimely death, Kevin stayed up with me all night while I waked my mother in her last hours in the family home.I suppose it was something we both needed to do. It was the tradition to stay with the body and watch over it. We shared a bottle of Bushmills whiskey and gingered up our coffee cups throughout the night talking that old brotherly talk about life and the universe and the mystery of unknown things . Somewhere in the middle of that dreamtime Kevin said “ Ah well, God is good”. At the time it was an on-going ubiquitous cliché like the flippant, “Have a nice day” .I hardly knew how to read it in that raw emotional state. Neither of us throughout our teenage years had ever professed much faith in an over-seeing deity of any kind. We’d many times argued the toss on the shape of the universe in our after-pub sorties into philosophy, and a god of any kind had never achieved any traction in our disputes. .
We both laughed..
A few days later I was clearing and digging quietly at the bottom of the autumn garden, when a robin landed on the handle of my spade beside me as I gathered up some branches. Intellectually I know that these cute little avians are in reality, feathered dinosaur descendants, the most territorial and vicious of garden birds. They have a reputation for fighting and killing anything on their patch.
The raw primitive side of my brain thought of my mother’s spirit.
He was probably looking for the worms I had uncovered but at that moment ,this unbeliever almost believed Kevin’s words.

Thanks to Maria for reminding me to write this down lest I should ever forget.KEVIN 2


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