I thought  by exchanging a few words over the phone with you, at the beginning of the majestic month of August, we might settle some of the misunderstandings and even resolve some of the hurt that has lain at our door of late. Cut off mid-stream, our voices echoing out from the mush of confusion, at the end of a line… the first thing that came to my mind, didn’t feel so good… and a little while later…. I started to think I may have rummaged the china shop in a somewhat bull heavy way.   

There’s no way to escape, I’m as messed up as the next… worse than a tangled ball of string in a shit storm… in the slow, meandering, way I put things together, finding sense, some semblance of hope in unscrambling the knots, wreaks havoc with my drain…  the flow gets belaboured… please bear with me…

Conflict rears its head, when something fundamentally important to our lives brings us together as a family… if not, the frustration, anger and subsequent pain are never far away… the last thing I want to do is open old wounds, or tip scorn, fault, blame, right or wrong on the other… and yet that’s what I seem to end up doing.

In sharing my thoughts and prayers with you, I dream of laying the headed gorgon to rest.

Here we go again, I here you say…

I’m the first to admit that I think too much…. go too deep…  I certainly seem to have a lot of time to do just that…

Then cut to the chase son…

Ok, I’ll try and be as straight forward as I can, without sounding like a fucking teacher, or someone who knows best, mouthing off about how good their waffle is….

Over the phone as I remember, we mentioned trust… and I think we agreed along with everything else, a rack of mistrust took hold, over the need to get our mother’s funeral under way…

I think we also debated, over the phone, and agreed that trust isn’t love… (to me trust and mistrust fit in with the clarity that comes with wisdom, rather than the dramas that go down with passion, excitement, rage and so on)

Being uncertain, or indeed mistrusting of my understanding of the word trust, I looked it up in the Oxford and the Collins dictionary – unlike the words love and truth, which display a catalogue of variables, there are very minor differences defining the meaning…

  1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
  2. confident expectation of something; hope.

It was clear as the bastion of our mum’s life panned out that we all had very diffrent relationships with her… mine I felt was so complex I needed to write, to sieve through the mud, in hope of finding gold, or at least some light redemption at the end of the tunnel … certainly, my being able to read/bore you with extracts, helped immeasurably and led me to believe that you were ok with the content……

Perhaps my book was overloaded and came across as cruel to our mum, maybe she was profoundly upset… I don’t know…  maybe she broke down about the book with you, in a very private moment, disclosing her pain, pushing the ambiguity between us further into place…. Cecilia wasn’t one to hold back on her feelings to me… if she was that distressed, she covered her tracks remarkably well… if she didn’t want to burden you, perhaps she broke down, disclosing her upset to Lucy, Sarah, Polly, or even MA… maybe they passed her painful misgivings onto you in a later frame…. again, I can only guess… if it wasn’t that, the reason for mistrust in our relationship must come from some other time in our collective past.

Due to our different paths, we haven’t really spent that much physical time in each other’s company… the odd occasion in North Creake, then Fakenham… North Creake was difficult, after the initial excitement and hellos faded, I never felt particularly welcome, especially if I was feeling miserable and couldn’t summon the energy to make an effort to jolly things along; in the end I basically gave up going there… I’d chance the occasional Christmas in Fakenham, but couldn’t risk upsetting the apple cart, or being hung out to dry, so again kept my distance. Our paths crossing fleetingly at Pembroke Road, always easy I thought…. Then there was our time together at Wandsworth Bridge Road, where I was often away, and you were taken up with your job at Hatchards… this leaves the years spent together in Cambridge….

Without wanting to belabour the point… I wasn’t an easy son for our mum and dad to deal with… certainly, in the extremes of fighting my corner at the family table, at Number Eight, the monster in me grew exponentially… I could be downright awful, bloody-minded, horrible… for sure, between my 10th year through to my 15th, I was at my all-time worse… and to you, living through your first sweet years on the planet, I imagine the conflict, I bought to the family domain, may have been difficult, even at times terrifying… frightful enough to warrant a legacy of mistrust, at best a lasting weariness between us…

I’m sure that somehow my behaviour precures the hesitation underling our relationship. I’m not making excuses, just trying to find reason for the sting… Perhaps our confidence in each other might have grown stronger, had I been less volatile over those fateful years in Cambridge, or hadn’t published my book in the relatively recent past; perhaps its none, or all of this in the overall, I don’t know…. I can’t buy back the past… and I certainly can’t say what it was for you, tell you what to think, put words in your mouth and so on… I can only guess…

I’m tempted to close my eyes to this, hoping the ills, that chip away at my conscience, will be swallowed up with annuls of time… in that cul-de-sac, I simply remain sad and lonesome, unfounded and untried, locked away, scared and lost inside my head, until my last breath.

I sit here and wonder, if there really is any remote possibility of absolving the pain, in the remedial hope that we might be able to find a more secure footing in our relationship…

My expectation and prayer, buoyed by the love and deep fondness I know we have for each other, is to find a way, to repeal, heal the lesions of our wounded hearts, to nurture trust, poisoned in a chalice of confusion and pain, born in the bastions of our shared past…. 

Be it recently, or a long time ago….  for how things have fallen…

I’m sorry and I know you’re sorry too