Ceremony – February 26 2013

Alan is dying tonight.  As I write.  Perhaps it’s happened.  We were told this evening.  Text message.  The modern way.  We knew he was very ill, but now here it is.

He and I are not close.  I can say that I think he’s a good person, devoted father, hard worker.

You know it’s going to happen to everyone but when it happens close to home it’s a shock.  A mystery.  Everything else, everyone else, carries on; children go to ballet lessons, people cook dinner, people eat dinner, people sing, people fight; but Alan is dying tonight; a momentous thing is happening to an ordinary man.

In the hot humid night, we walk, the dog and I, down oblivious streets.  A possum lies dead on the footpath. Near home, we pass the church, silent, looming in the dark.  Once, people would have found solace there at a time of loss; no doubt some do still; but tonight it is an empty testament to the futile, enormous truth – “we simply do not know”.

He has children and a wife.  They are with him tonight.  My thoughts are with him too; now;  (I did not think to make an effort when it might have mattered to him).  But tonight he makes his journey; mine can wait for now.

The clouds are heavy, shroud-like. The massive gum tree on Williams Road spreads like a basilica in the street light; its lemon incense cuts the air. The cicadas thrum – their monotonous dies irae in the dark heralds the great change.   All else is quiet, expectant.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

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About noonanite

Paul Noonan is a lawyer and musician based in Melbourne, Australia.
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