It is no more. She is no more. He is no more. All is past. In an hour’s time she will be committed to the flames. Made dust. Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes. Old time elegance. An archaic gentility. You must speak properly. I am fast forgetting the sound of her voice. Halloo, halloo, her voice would carol on the answer machine. Halloo, are you still there? Sovnent stille the death notice reads. Peaceful sleep. Be at peace. Rest in peace. Peace be with you. And with your spirit.
It was parked outside no 2 South Marine. A black van. Window-less. The words ‘Private Ambulance’ had been printed discreetly on its side. It was 4.30 am. I described it to him later, as we walked. What is it? I asked. It’s for transporting dead bodies, he said.
The warmer air brings the crane flies inside. Daddy longs legs. They unnerved me as a child. They would fly at you, a leggy-fluttering in your face. Don’t, don’t. Don’t Daddy. Can you get it? I ask him. He snaps at it with his hand. He misses, he misses again. Come here, you bugger. Don’t kill it, I implore. I won’t. There, got you. There is a small one in his bedroom. A tiny one. I try to catch it. Come here, little one. But my hands are clumsy. These hands that can do the tiniest of stitches. They are too clumsy. I hurt it. Oh, no. A leg is dismembered. It lies still. I pick it up tenderly by its wing and put it through the window. It is too late. It is gone. And I am sorry. So sorry.