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Just One Day

The ideas are pouring out of me. It's the strangest feeling after the most arid period. The bigger project has been "on hold" as I wait to do some booked in work on reshaping it and I gave myself permission in the meantime to do nothing. It's given me time to rethink.

The thing I have become aware of is the self censoring, and this is why I'm now spewing unedited pieces onto the blog here. It's a part of a process, an unblocking. While the piece I care so much about continues to be about creating the finest result I can achieve, there is satisfaction in sharing some smaller ideas. I would once have kept these back. They are only exercises, an hour long at most, but like a student artist I need to throw some ideas out there, and then chuck them away. There is an unburdening in this process.

So this piece is the entree to an idea about getting "Just One Day" to spend with someone again. Perhaps in this story I might, or I did, or perhaps we one day will. Who knows!

It's an exploration of the idea that there are always things left unsaid. I suppose this process is about trying to shift that narrative so that things are said. In this case I won't get the chance to speak to these people again.

We all have people in our lives who "meet us" in some way, and who change us by knowing them. They don't always know it and we don't always get to thank them. This piece I dedicate to some of my people .

This "opener" is steered by my late childhood friend, whose impact on my formative years was unquestionable. Sadly there were too many words unsaid so perhaps this why he is leading this piece at a time when I am grappling to share my most authentic voice. The longer version I believe would visit perhaps a handful of my greatest influences, in an imagined conversation for Just One Day.

Just One Day - first draft opener, in which a departed influence appears in the room

There was something daunting about today. She felt it on waking. Today she wanted it to be a good day. She would give it a go. Every day was a new chance. The opportunity to start over. Refresh. Delete even. She wanted to delete yesterday. It had been too hard.

When you bury someone there is supposed to be closure. An end point. A chance to move on with life, but something wasn’t working. She didn’t think he was properly gone. There had been no chance to say goodbye and however many times she told herself it would get easier, it wasn’t getting better. “It’s only been a day” The babble that was usually pretty helpful but today she wanted to thump the next person who trivialised it. Was it ever going to get better ? She knew that grief wasn’t the same for everyone, but she honestly didn’t know how she was going to get through this.

This is my story. So I shall change the "she" to I and speak from the heart because if we don’t there is simply no point.

This is my grief. And I want to introduce you to my first visitor. This sounds like a chat show. And I wish it was. But it really isn’t because the room is silent, save for the beating of my heart. Only mine.

My visitor is…. No longer a beating heart of his own. His heart never recovered. He hadn’t treated himself well so it was likely to be in a sticky state even if it did work. But this is all immaterial because he lost his life. But here he was.

“D’you want a drink?”

“I’d better not.”

“I meant tea. You can have something a bit stronger, you know, if you want."

“I don’t actually know”.

“Right . Well unless you’ve missed something in the last couple of months, you’ll remember."

I looked straight back at him. His eyes were the ones I remembered from when we were kids. His chuckle too. He looked better than he had for a while although not dissimilar in stature.

“Chuck us a cookie.”

I wanted to hug him. To say how gutted I was that he was gone but actually wasn’t sure he was gone, or was here right now or… wait.

I walked over to the fridge and grabbed a can of San Pellegrino.

“Blood orange” I said.

“Nice” he replied.

When you lose someone. Correction. This is happening to me, not to you. Sometimes I’m caught up in the moment and I go to ring you, and you’re not there.

“Yeah. I mean no”.

“D’you know what I mean?"

“Sort of, I mean. No. Haven’t a clue.”

It’s a painful thing. Empty.

"It doesn’t matter."

“Of course it matters. If it didn’t matter we wouldn’t be here now.”

“You’re not.”

I look across the road at the house opposite. I'm checking in on my sense of perspective and today seems to be like any other. There are a few of them in there. They are like student sort of age and there’s a lot of coming and going and sometimes a bit of hanky-panky and frivolity but nothing that looks too serious or worth writing home about.

I felt jealous of those young girls. I wished I could feel like that again. Carefree and a bit stupid.

The word “Stupid”poured off my tongue.

“Who you calling stupid?”


My friend had left us very suddenly. He wasn’t at an age when people tend to die but he had abused his body and it was kicking back. I hadn't seen a lot of him, for what I felt was good and conscious reason, and in self protection. He was making what I felt to be poor decisions and I found this uncomfortable but didn't want to reach out. It seemed I was going to get a second chance. To talk to him. I wonder if he might listen this time. Did he even know he was dead?

“I wonder if you know how many people you hurt?”

"In a lifetime?

"No. Well actually, yes!

"If I could tell you just one thing that might change the past?

"It doesn’t work like that."

The future then, I thought. Just leave a note!

You hadn’t left a note, but you HAD left a letter. It was written in royal blue ink and onto glorious parchment paper that I reckon might have been your mums. You wouldn’t have spent money on that stuff. The paper you spent your money on was roll ups and that had always disappointed me.

Your letter was beautiful and you read it to me now, again. You know I’ve been numb since your passing but hearing you say the words instead of trying to remember your voice and the floodgates opened. It was the first time I’d felt anything, except for the shame of letting you down. So it shook me up. It went like this.

"I want to go."

"Can we stop this and take the bikes out?" You loved your bike.

“It’s ok. You go. On your own."

You decided not to go but I could tell you were keen to experience the wind on your skin again.

"Any idea who ended up with my bike?” he asked.

I shook my head. "We can go look for it? I offered.

Walking hand in hand with my friend. Not lovers. Just friends. I felt oddly complete, and proud to have him with me. I could feel his warm body near to me as we shared the kinship that was broken in our twenties and I could hear his…breath.

There should be no breath. You can’t breathe again as well - surely ?



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