A day. Largely grey above. Any blue rare, fleeting. Windy. Showers due.
It would be sensible to revel in grey – it occurs enough. Bright-blue-sky-smiles must be triggered by something animal. We’re only animals trying not to be.
Wearing second-hand wellies. What can you call them? Left overs? Given to me by his partner; they happen to fit. I knew the now dead owner during seemingly happy times. A cousin said they were the happiest times. That’s good. But it’s all relative. I don’t know how bad things were before.
Wellies to pressure-wash a patio. Banish slippery-when-wet mould from the slabs. Banish as time and effort allows. Know it will return. Prevent an accident in the meantime. Hopefully.
Get it done before my neighbour’s back home. I don’t know when he’ll be back. His daughter didn’t know either. It will be his last visit. He’s coming home to die. An old cancer has spread despite two operations. And now new cancers have joined it, invading new organs. His daughter told me all this a day ago. I know notions of fairness are for the most part feeble constructs but … but he’s a good bloke living a decent life.
I’d noticed he’d not been around in the last three or four days. I’d seen his kids visiting more than usual in the days before. I know he’d been struggling. Nothing of what’s happened is surprising but that’s in retrospect. In recent weeks he’d seemed like he’d been getting better.
I pressure-washed the patio as soon as I could. My neighbour sleeps in the back of his house. I didn’t want him to be in bed and having to listen to me, the washer’s electric motor, the high-pressure water buffeting the slabs. The cancers will make him tired.
Looking back, I realise he’s lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months.
Years and years ago, someone I knew back then was dying from leukaemia. I was visiting. A neighbour, two houses down, was doing something noisy in the garden. Unwitting but disturbing. That dying man railed against the racket, albeit knowing and acknowledging that the neighbour was innocent of anything blame-worthy. Helpless frustration saps. Sometimes, even a little energy is precious.
Years and years later, that’s why I was pressure-washing a patio as soon as I could.
There’s no pleasure in remembering a reason to be considerate. Relief perhaps, in remembering to think. Scant relief.
The why of it
I know why I was doing what I was doing now and I know the memories, the causes. But I can’t say why I remember a leukaemia victim’s at-the-time relatively minor frustration at his neighbour’s noise. Somehow or another, they’re ingrained. There are better, stronger memories.
I guess if they’re formative events then perhaps remembering them isn’t so surprising. Maybe other people might act and feel the same if they’d shared the same history.
To be asking why one’s memory does what it does, is, perhaps, in itself merely stupid.
It feels potentially ridiculous to expect a brain to explain a brain.