Reflections – a Soliloquy

I am still waiting for the printer to do me book – had it proof read – money well spent – so am writing new stuff – here’s one what I done this week – an old man reminiscing – chatting to his absent long divorced wife as he’s waiting to die.

Had I not been peering at a soft-core calendar
A women’s rowing club – posing butt naked – for charity
With discreet oars obscuring zones of ‘special interest’
Our golden wedding day would have passed unnoticed
Friday, October 20 2017 – an empty square
We married – 50 years ago this very day
Deep in the autumn of the ‘Summer of Love’
We might have become ‘grey panthers’
Prowling motorways
B roads and dusty tracks to deserted coves
In our Eldiss Xplore 304
Bought online from Autotrader
Parked up on a clifftop
Looking out over the wide flat ocean
Focusing binoculars on Polaris, unmoving
Proving the Earth is stationary
Marvelling at the mediaeval mindset of those who think
The Earth is a spinning ball
Or wintering in Albufeira
Where we honeymooned in 74
Despite his distaste at our drunkenness
The registrar declared us man and wife
You, a pregnant teen – five months gone
No wedding rings
No smiling family throwing rice
Two clerks dragged in as witnesses
And just ten bob to see us through
“This one will never last”
He muttered as he blotting papered the register
But it lasted – through years of grinding poverty
The speed in Benzedrex inhalers keeping me awake on night shifts
Dodgy lodgings, dodgy landlords
Dope dealing mates? Dodgier still
Life brightened, for me, by the Henge and Glastonbury
I lived in a hallucinogenic haze
I was a ‘test pilot’ – taking anything to get a buzz
Mushrooms especially or LSD
I made the local headlines
“Flying hippie belly flops off the Market Street multi-storey”
I was not trying to fly
I was suicidally inclined
I had dropped two tabs of ‘yellow sunshine’
And from nowhere a thought crossed my mind
‘You must die and be born again if you want to get to heaven’
That sounded fine by me so
But I survived
Mashed myself up pretty bad instead
Breaking my pelvis, my ribs, and cracking my head
My week in a coma was the best part
A kind of holiday
You came in when the kids were at school
And wiped my forehead
And squeezed my hand
And ran to the nurse to report my first blink
Old friends visited daily
Chatting and playing “Stairway to Heaven” for me
I chuckled inside my tight-locked shutdown head
Bleedin’ stairway to heaven – if you only knew
Each day a fresh revelation
I saw heaven
I saw hell
I met angels
I learned the secret of life
A voice said it was time to choose
Life or death?
It was up to me
Living meant pain and
A narrow lonely flinty path
Until I faced the Deity
Or simply dying – giving up there and then
A bathetic end to a pointless existence
A painless oblivion but not before
A tantalising glimpse of the splendrous eternity
That I had let slip from my grasp
Live or die?
Take the money or open the box?
Deal or no deal?
I opened the box. I struck a deal
I chose the narrow painful path
I would walk it as long as you walked beside me
The angel’s parting words
As you kissed my forehead and I awoke?
“Remember Lot’s wife”
I looked the same when I left my bed
I looked the same but had changed inside
I had seen the light
There was a light
And I had seen it
A light you had not seen
Could not see
And did not want to
We grew apart
Estranged by my zeal for Jesus and your disinterest
No more drink, no more drugs
I was not really fair on you
For the sake of the family I forsook the family
Kissed the children and limped to Galloway
Then the coast path
Right around to Scrabster and the ferry to Orkney
And obscurity
I’m quietly waiting now to die
A dignified patient passage from life to life
I wonder where you are now
Is god to blame for our marriage fraying beyond repair?
You would have liked it here
In my cottage beside the burn
I’ve a family kitchen – cosy
With a peat stove
But no one eats with me
And you would love the view of Egilsay
Across the bay
And spotting otters, seals and migrant gulls
I wish you were here
Fifty years of memories would be ours to share
I wonder where you are
I wonder where we ever were



© coolhermit 2023
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