By Mollie Campbell.
“People tried to make out what was happening, but there was a shore they couldn’t venture beyond. So they watched from the strandline and tried to imagine how cold the water must be. Then shouted out from time to time that I really should eat, I really should lift myself up out of the sorrow I was in, and hoped I could hear them over the waves, the storm raging”.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m being punished. Or I’m going mad. It’s been a year now, but really, all that stages-of-grief nonsense, it seems to me to be absolute rubbish. I don’t think you ever get used to any of it. Because she’s gone, hasn’t she? And I just, I don’t know. It’s just very sad. And it’s infuriating. I don’t think it would even help me very much if I had the sort of faith that allowed for the possibility of a meaningful afterlife. Because I know I sound like a spoiled child, but I don’t want her then, I don’t want to wait, I want her now”.
“Dreams, as far as I can see, are as natural and inescapable as the shadows people cast when they stand in the light. I think if I could only keep hold of them all, and fashion the dreams of my life into one long chain, perhaps I might be able to make out the route I’ve been taking, and see where I’m aiming for. It will never be possible, of course. I will have to be like everyone else, and live in the space between reality and dreaming instead, and cling to what clues I can find to the code that would decipher me, if only I could ever make it out”.
“I look at my parents now, and see how much taller than mum I’ve grown, and can’t help feeling like I’ve outgrown all those memories. I wish I could still be filled with that much hope, and feel that free of any worry, any care, and able to concentrate only on the taste of the wine, the way the light passed through the glass when I held it up, the way Aunt Laura’s laugh seemed sharp enough to crack glass”.
“Things rise up and claim you, and mark you for greatness or mark you for tragedy, and the route of your life is mapped by forces entirely beyond you”.
“All I know is that I live held fast in the empty, vast embrace of the blue sky, the bright water, the loneliness I have learned to call being alive”.
“The threads of the conversation keep fraying like that all day. It seems there’s no way of touching the sides of grief, and slowing your fall as you plummet into it. I remember a story Mum told me once of a man who tunnelled all the way from England to Australia. I suppose that’s what it’s like to lose someone. You have to pass all the way through the centre of the earth before you come out into the light again, dizzy with the emptiness of losing something you need and can’t have anymore”,
“What is needed is an amnesty, a forgetting. What might save us all is a way to put our lives behind us, and love facing into the future, not always turned back looking for the past. But the song of memory is forever calling. You can’t just wash it away. It’s everything people are made of”.
“I don’t think he understands, because he isn’t in my head. He’s never quite known how it all looks through my eyes. No one ever succeeds in learning the map of another person’s life; they only glimpse the surface”.