I went looking, today, for evidence that the things I see are the things I see, that the things I know are the things I know.
Love trumps anger or pain. I love people fiercely, if I love them at all. When there are no people I love the garden and the cats. When I wash up, I love the washing-up. That’s all I do. You can ask any of my friends, any of my family. People who went away from me for years have come back to find my arms open, my door open, wine on the table and a bed made up, and no rancour whatever went before. If I held that trump card for them once, I hold it always. From the outside it may look as if I’m a fool, or a soft touch. I’m neither. Some people have a lighthouse inside them, are a beacon. And those people whose lights I have seen, I love, nomatter what.
Once, at my mother’s home on the coast, I saw an albatross, blown in on a huge storm. It glided out over the living room window, as wide as the house. My heart leapt – I ran to fetch my mother, and she came through from the kitchen. It was unmistakeable, like a light aircraft, labouring across the Ripe. We watched it until it reached the church, and disappeared into the weather. Later, she was told by my stepfather that it could not possibly have been an albatross, so she remembers seeing a seagull and laughs at herself and at me for thinking otherwise. But it was an albatross, and having seen it, I could not call it anything else. Do you understand? I know the stuff of you. Nothing you can do will make me feign ignorance, and then use that as an excuse to not care any more. I will care about you now, in a year’s time, in 20 years’ time, whether you ignore me or not. I hold the same card for many, many people, some of whom will use it, some of whom are gone, some of whom will never leave until they leave the world.