22nd December

Sorrow and Love

Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been all my life. There is an absence, a disconnect. I have been in the dark for years, watching a film about myself. Why do I feel like this? Why do I hardly feel at all? I am struggling here, trying to make sense of something senseless. I am sorry.

That’s the last thing I should say. Actually, it’s the last thing anybody should say: I am sorry. That, and: I love you. If you could reach the end and say them both – I am sorry; I love you – that would be something. To feel those two things, and say them, and know what they meant. To mean them, truly mean them.

To weigh up all you regret, all the hurt you caused, and offer that recognition. You wouldn’t be looking for absolution. You wouldn’t be apologising just so you could walk away. You would be acknowledging: There is nothing I can do about it now, it is done, but I am sorry.

And then, to weigh up the kindness, the passion, the selflessness, the sacrifice, and offer this: that you loved. To say to someone, You were not the first, you were not the only, but because you are here now you are the gifted, you are the final recipient of the accumulated love I carry from life. Here, take them, my sorrow and my love, distribute them.

It is of these that human lives are made.

Then how is it that I am asking, Where have I been all my life? There is an absence, a gap, a dream. Either my life is the dream or I am. Decades and decades of dreaming. I reach out to touch my life and it is not here, or I am not here. One of us is not real. I have drifted down the river and when I look back I cannot believe the distance I have come. Perhaps I have not moved at all. Perhaps I am still dreaming. Yet the river flows on. If I know it so well, why does it look strange to me? Why is it so full of sorrow and love, and I so empty?

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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