12: Insect Wings – Humming

The rains this January, in southern England, fall incessantly from a grey sky that reflects my sense of despair. I am like a man trapped between two huge, facing mirrors. On the one side I see my inner being, whose unfathomable nature generates such a sense of hopelessness, and on the other side I see the sky, grey and cold and wet and unloving and unloved. The sky mirror will become trans­parent when summer comes, when all is light and bright, with far-reaching cerulean heights speckled by dis­tant birds, and close at hand, the air will hum with insect wings. And those yet to be sum­mer days will rea­waken memories of childhood spent in my great-grand­parents’ long garden with its little orchard right at the bottom, where in later years, though whilst I am still living here, my grandfather would re-erect his old shed, bringing it from his garden for us, because now he has a new concrete garage for his new car instead. My great-grandfather had died the year I was born, so for me he survived only in the design of the gar­den and, indoors, in the choice of wallpaper and the creaking of the ward­robe door whose hinge he never got around to oiling. For some reason I never felt his absence, and my great-grandmother, though always remi­niscing and reminiscing, never spoke of him, as if perhaps there were some shame barring her way to her memories of him. Had he been cruel, had he been unfaithful? There were no pictures of him out on display, and none in the al­bums I was permitted to wander through. His name was Wilfred, I am almost certain.

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