Monday 30 August 2010

Darkness and Solitude

I was alone, sitting in a folding chair. I've known this place for years. Granite lumps rolled under my feet. The sky was the dark blue of an August evening. I could see the English countryside laid out below me in all directions past the nearby heather. A single tree stood siluetted against the growing dusk.

How many times have I been here? Honestly I don't know.

It grew darker and one at a time the stars came out. This was a good place to see the stars.

A voice spoke. "I knew I'd find you here," it said.

I looked around and there was no one to be seen.

"It's a glorious night, isn't it?"

I decided to ignore the apparent absence of my companion. "Yes, yes it is."

"The old tree is still standing."

"Indeed it is. Survived the storms at the end of the 80's I remember."

"Yes, me too," the voice sounded surprised and distant at the same time.

Nothing more was said for quite some time. I thought perhaps my companion had left. I certainly didn't hear him arrive.

Then it spoke again, "There are places and moments that stick in the soul. This is one, I think."

Curiosity overcame me, "Who are you and why can't I see you? Are you in my mind?"

"It's quite complicated."

"You aren't in my mind?"

"That would be an easy answer. It isn't true, so I'm not going to leave you believing that."

"Who?" I asked. I didn't expect an answer. Whoever it was just came to share the moment, and didn't feel the need to explain himself.

Just at that moment, in front of me, two eyes appeared. Nothing more. No face, just two eyes. I looked into them. They looked familiar and most terribly tired. For an instant I thought I understood. Then the instant passed and the eyes faded.

A young lady pulled up in an almost silent electric sports car, "You ready to go, Dad?"

I nodded and threw the chair in the boot.

"Mum's got us a takeaway back at base. Wouldn't want it to get cold."

As we pulled away, a voice behind me whispered, "Don't eat the left-overs from the foil containers tomorrow morning."