Last night, after three days sitting mostly alone at my father’s bedside, I go a bit Bertha Mason. A phone call from someone infinitely more sensible than me stops me from torching the place, and tells me that while my father *will* die, we will all keep living. So we need to keep living.
This morning I wake up to pouring rain. By the time I’ve got my running kit on, it’s become a full-blown thunder storm and the rain’s coming down so hard I can’t see the end of the road. My mother forbids me from going. It’s all the fuel I need. I run away from the traffic and into the fields, and in the middle of one huge open field I’m already drenched and the thunder booms and it’s like a perfect Dawson’s Creek moment and I remember how much I liked being a teenager, for moments like this.
In the afternoon I get in the car for the first time since Monday and drive to the shopping centre to get shoes for a wedding on Saturday I’m glad to know I’m finally definitely going to attend, whatever happens. The teenage boy at the till asks me if I’ve been shopping long today, and I respond with a beaming non-sequitur that I’ve just come from my father’s deathbed. ‘I take it from your smile he’s OK, though!’ he smiles back at me, and I find that I’m smiling even more now, as I explain in way too much detail (Him: ‘Right, if you could… just… put your card in… please…’) just how long they think he’s got, and that it’s just sheer magic to be out in the real world again. When the transaction is finished he smiles at me, properly, and wishes me luck, and I want to hug him and have him hug me and we would both feel total peace and that feeling would spread out from us to all the shoppers, out past the glass walls of the shopping centre, out across the country, out over the world, and all wars would cease forever, for good. But I take my bag and thank him and look away, not knowing how one deals with this precise situation.