Broken strings & Pretty things

The world, seen through a young girl's eyes.

Archive for the month “May, 2013”


It’s hard to tell whether the day you left was different to any others. In retrospect, the air felt different: there was some coldness and distance and a lack of communication, but I don’t know whether it is the romance of hindsight which distorts the sad reality that was a normal occurrence in our disjunctive household.

I never knew whether I should write about this. At first it was too painful, and to be honest, I didn’t know whether it was true that he was actually leaving. There was a grey area weeks where I didn’t know he was coming or going. But afterwards, I never knew whether it was right to right about it: I have never been one to search for sympathy, especially when tragedy like this arises.
But now I feel it is time to right about him. About you; about the day you left and without hyperbole, the day which changed my life.

I had a biology exam that day, and therefore most of my memory is distorted because I was trying to study in the morning. But I do remember the fact that you came into my room and gave me breakfast in bed: a thing which you never did. I also noticed a flash of red on your arm from where you dressing gown had gaped: a tattoo streaked across your skin.
I should have said something, but I was too transfixed with my exam. It would have been in vain anyway: you would have covered it up and tried to digress.

Things had been strange for the past weeks. When mum was working away, you’d sneak off in the night and make absurd excuses for their reason. I was too captivated by work, perhaps subconsciously I knew what you were doing and used it as an excuse. Sometimes I’d lie in bed and hear you come back: you’d call goodnight but I would never respond. I couldn’t bring myself to say it.

You drove me to school that morning and I got out of the car. Maybe you said good luck for my exam, I’m not sure. You might have even told me that you loved me, and I probably mumbled something that sounded like that. I never liked to say those words unless I believed that they were true.

And when I came back, you were gone.
This was not just like the week before where you took some clothes but came back: this time it was for good.
You sent me a text telling me that you would always loved me. You sent me texts every day saying that you were sorry. I never replied.

To this day, I still don’t know what to think.
Through the lies and the debauchery and anger, maybe I have always lacked a father figure. I never really felt the love of a father. I could never be proud to call you ‘daddy’ and would never enjoy letting you meet my friends.
I still don’t know whether what has happened has actually hit me. Perhaps the hurt has left me numb; perhaps the hurt you keep instilling in my mother and watching her heart break has made it surreal enough.

Maybe I’ll never understand; I’ll never know what it was which made your strings break and what caused your light to stop shining. I wonder what left you helpless and broken and a shell of the man you once were.
I’ll never understand how you thought that breaking things would somehow fix them together.

I’ll never understand why you do those dreadful things you do.
There was an irony about that coffee cup you gave me that morning: one of yours clearly labelled ‘beyond help.’
Little did I know how literal those words would be.


Sunshine and hail.

I don’t understand how it can the times where everything is going so wrong is when everything is going so right.

At the moment, everything is falling apart.
My family is breaking apart.
My mother’s heart is shattering.
My grandmother was taken without any warning.
So many things determining my future are coming my way and I don’t know whether I can handle them.

Yet right now, I’m having one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I’m smiling; I’m happy and I’m brave. Because when we finally hit rock bottom, you realise that you are not alone: that although life can throw its torments and pressures and uncertainty, it can simultaneously through you love and comfort and confidence to know that it can and will get better.

Today, there was an extremely heavy hail shower. The sky was belting down with all its might, striking down everything that was in its way. But at the same time, the sun continued to shine with all its might. Though the hail didn’t stop falling, equally the sun didn’t stop shining.
Sun and hail are not usually found together, but it still happens. Just like tragedy and happiness.

Because, even when the heavens open and everything comes crashing down, there is still brightness.
There is still the promise that on the days where you want to break down and cry, these are still the days where you throw your head back laughing, knowing that pain is only temporary.

It will get better.

Now that you are sleeping.

It was quarter to ten in the morning, seven days ago.
I didn’t get to hear the words. All I saw were the faint black letters framing the reality that, this time, you weren’t going to wake up.

I think that’s the first time I ever truly registered the fragility of life; the fact that one day someone is there, and the next their whole existence is vanished. That each person carries their own little light, and one day it’s snuffed out.
There are people out there, everywhere, living and breathing; their cheeks flushed with the warmth of life passing through each arteriole. They’re here. But the colours ran from your face. You got cold. You went somewhere, and I’m really not sure where it is.

Because losing someone through bereavement is not like a break up or your father leaving or your best friend moving across the world. There is no off-chance of bumping into them at the supermarket or seeing a picture of them on holiday with their new girlfriend. It’s the incomprehensible reality of realising that their presence will never touch your future. It’s realising that you can’t go and call them when you’ve had a bad day; it’s coming to realise that there will be a seat missing at Christmas.
It’s somehow turning someone who was once there, touching you, into a memory. It’s turning someone who once sang and loved and hoped into something that once was, and now no longer is.

Because you’re not going to see me go to university. You’re not going to hear how my exams are doing. You’re not going to be on the phone, reminding me to be careful and look after myself. You’re not going to see me fully grow up; you’re not going to see how I turn out.

But I know that you’re with him, and that you’ve been waiting for the day to once again be in his arms after this past decade. And I know that you are there, somewhere, still calling for me to keep going; to not use this as a reason to break down and give up, but to reach my dream: to just get these grades. And you’re smiling.
Because just like the pictures of us lined your bed, your memory and love and presence now lines each of our days.

I’m sorry that I can’t be there when they take you away. I’m sorry I can’t wave goodbye.
But I don’t need a church to give you my peace. I don’t need a eulogy to remember your spirit. I don’t need to wear black to remember how empty I feel that you are no longer in the world.

Instead, I’ll be making you proud in that exam room. Because you will be right there with me. Just like you always have been.

Sleep well beautiful. You finally deserve some rest.



Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

-Winnie The Pooh



I think that it was that freckle in the corner of your eye which started this.

This dawning of longing and realisation; this drowning cascade of suddenly awakening to the harsh reality of the words which I never thought I would say: that I miss you.

And the way that your chest formed some form of cavern when there seemed no escape; the deep and unending path your eyes led; the slight quiver in your voice in the curve of your lips; the faint smell of soap and washing powder cradling the dimples of your neck; the hushed urgency in the staccato of your words; the pink stained taste in the sweetness in ripple of your lips; the smouldering glow of your embrace and the great juxtaposition between the fair porcelain covered by the sweep of burning sienna.

But it is most definitely the tranquillity of your soul: the sombre lament harmonised with the humble note of benevolence; the beckoning promise of trust in your name.
And the heart-wrenching truth that it is too late; we are merely ships passing in the night.


Once more.

This is the letter that I should have written to you a long time ago.

I’m sorry that I am not one that excels themself in keeping in touch with others. I’m sorry that you called me the other week to congratulate me on passing my driving test and never returned it. I’m sorry that there once was a gap in which I didn’t see you for three years.

But as I sit here amongst the broken glass and damp photographs with the sand falling between us quicker than I dare to believe, all I muster is the dust gathered apology that I should have given you years ago.

Because I want you to know that I love you. I have loved you for as long as I can remember. I remember once spending Christmas at your house and remember you smiling down on me as I tore the paper off that stuffed rabbit you once gave me. I remember when you took me to the park and held my hand. I also vaguely remember the funeral, where you watched him slowly taken away from you.
Most of all, I remember the fact that you always smiled from a distance, because you never wanted to intrude; you never wanted to be a burden, or a hindrance or any form of convenience to anybody’s day. That’s why you never called, and that’s why you let all those months pass by: because you didn’t want anybody to feel as if you were a burden.

And that’s why I’m guilt stricken, sobbing and lying on the floor: because that’s why we have only just found out that this thing has been destroying you: that this devilish disease has crippled you from the inside out, unnoticed by all of us.
And I’m so sorry that I let you feel this way.
I’m so sorry that I left you fade into the background.
I’m so sorry that I didn’t make you carry on speaking on the phone.
I’m so sorry that I never visited.
I’m so sorry for not returning that phone call.

I’m so sorry for not being the granddaughter that you deserved.

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