0044 | dust

The cab hadn’t moved for three or four minutes, each of those minutes stretching out like a tall shadow in the late evening sun. The quiet had become more than just the absence of sound; it had become that state which begins to bully and dominate far more than noise ever could, hanging like something physical between two people determined to preserve their separateness. Time and stillness accumulate and begin to oppress silence – time kinks and frays, silence shakes and wavers – and sooner or later it all cracks. Sure enough, there came the first small sounds – a rhythm of soft vibrations from the throat – and as the driver started to hum a tune, my fingers fell…

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0043 | holding on

Sometimes— Often— Most nights, I’m woken by my daughter, Bessie, who appears at my side of the bed – the one nearest to the door, which leads onto the landing, which leads to her room – and she waits patiently for me to ask if she’s OK. I ask if she’s OK. She nods. I ask if she wants me to come to her room and cuddle her. She nods again, sometimes with the softest caress of the word ‘yes’, as her head bobs down and then back up, and we walk to her room, and she returns to her bed, and her eyes close immediately, and I lie down next to her. And there is barely mattress to sleep…

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0042 | goodbye: 3/3 (a mother and a son)

The past; the present; a sense of something in front of us. Days like this feel, or felt, like several time frames combined and a sense of being in each one at once. Remembering, feeling, anticipating: it all becomes – became – the same. It’s all part of travelling to and from a point, to record a few more moments: to splinter time and memory once more….   Mum dips her head and points a finger to somewhere over my left shoulder and tells me, ‘That’s where your dad’s mum and dad are buried.’ She sees my surprise and so adds, ‘Behind that hedge’, and her head dips again, and her arm lifts like the trunk of an elephant – a movement that travels…

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0041 | goodbye: 2/3 (her brother)

She was sat in her chair. She’d dressed herself, although I knew that meant no more than to put limbs and head through the holes of the clothing which my brother had ironed and laid out for her the previous night. I thought about the moments between the ironing and her getting dressed. I wondered over which surface the clothes had been draped; had she looked at them during that time; had she thought of them simply as the clothes she would be wearing tomorrow, or as the clothes in which she would say goodbye to her brother? I leant down to kiss her cheek, but she lifted and turned her head as I did so, and my lips half…

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0040 | goodbye: 1/3 (two brothers)

I woke that morning to an orange sky which seemed far too beautiful for the day in front of it. Low-lying clouds sponged the colour away in places, but that only made the view finer still. The sky and those clouds on the left and the black-blue tree tops on the right. Total quiet and everything almost perfect. And then it started to fade. Everything slowly tipped ninety degrees as I pulled my head up from the pillow and, with greater effort, my body from the bed. The sky and the ground relocated – became above and below once more – and the familiar order of things returned and I was truly awake. The window now became a frame and…

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0039 | anchors

There are times when it doesn’t seem possible that someone else could think and feel as ardently as I do, that thoughts could flicker in their mind and then burn and flare. It’s contrarily a sadness and a consolation to know that they do, though. Indeed, only the other day I read a passage which confirmed for me that others did and I felt my heart heavy within my chest as I read it. It was a heaviness borne of the wonder of someone explaining part of your very own nature to you, and then the torture of realising that that nature is not so very unique, that the sensitivity you mistook as setting you apart from others is actually the…

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0038 | contrails

One day. The coat in the cupboard, with a rope of green polythene bags spilling from the left-hand pocket; bags for collecting the dog’s shit at the beginning and end of each day. | A tree, bare against a white sky, like a bony arm. A palm of twenty or so fingers sprawled open; leaves stripped and scattered, savaged once by the wind, then by foot, and then by the wind again. | A pigeon pecking at a pool of vomit in front of a bench: scavenging on the detritus of a story from the night before. | A tap left running; an even flow of water, hitting the steel sink almost without noise. | Lego pieces left on the floor beneath…

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0037 | missing a train

His right hand flatirons its way down the front of the coat and he winces as it crawls into his pocket. It’s a slow controlled descent; as a boy, he would reach into garden brambles in the same cautious fashion, to retrieve plastic and rubber balls kicked and batted astray. There is an area of split skin at the knuckle next to the thumb; a stark mix of desiccated white lines, and wicks and fissures of dark red. Inside, there’s a balled-up pink serviette which partly opens, but its core remains glued tightly together, causing two ribbons to tear away from the mass. Underneath, there is a wrap of toilet tissue; one perforated sheet coiled around another, and he relives…

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