One Day commission (angled view (2) 2014

The sky is milk-white. I can hardly see the rain, though I know it is falling for the roof tiles outside my studio window are shiny with wetness. A grey whiteness. And I am cold. I sit at my laptop, a hot water bottle against my stomach and a blanket wrapped around my knees.

The session this morning was cancelled. I thought it might be. It would be inappropriate to talk of such inconsequential things after last night’s happenings in Paris. I didn’t know till he told me at breakfast. I’d missed the radio news bulletins. How does it make you feel? I asked him over coffee. Feel? he’d said. Yes, what do you think of? How do you cope with such knowledge of such pain inside your head?

I know that I am not making much sense. His voice gets sharp. I usually cry then. I have not made myself understood. It’s something to do with standing in another’s shoes. I am compelled to do so. To feel what they are feeling.

Does it help? How can it help? I want to hold them, to touch. To love.

We talk about forgiveness. But what about punishment? he asks. Do you think they should be punished? This step brother, he continues, should he be punished? Of course, I say, but society must mete out the punishment not the individual. But what do I know? And who am I to dole out judgements? I do not want to. I just want to find a state of grace. For myself, for all.

We need to find a way to talk. For doesn’t it always come down to this, a need to be heard, acknowledged, understood?

Is there such a thing as evil? Is it separate from what we are?

Preparing breakfast I’d listened to the end of Jack London’s Sea Wolf. Wolf Larsson is dying but even in death he tries to choke the life out of Humphrey van Laden. It is so that I can feel alive, he says. His last muster of strength. The night before he dies Maud asks him about his soul. He is dismissive, Pah, he says. He loses the power of speech. They give him a pen and pencil. The next morning they find a crumpled piece of paper in his hand. Just one word written there. BOSH.

I told him. Serendipity, he said. Yes. It had been a crossword clue. Nonsense. I’d suggested bosh but he’d said, no, there’s no such word. It’s tosh. I’d relented. Not trusting my judgement. This morning I checked in the dictionary. Bosh = nonsense.

It gives me comfort. A kind of reaching out. Sometimes we are so far from home. That’s how it feels.

Writing my life is tough. I revisit it’s bleakness and I am made grey. It is inevitable. No walk today. I think I shall sleep. Sleep myself into a lightness. A light lovingness.