Pulling Together


Quieted by disquiet

I’m in a certain fallow stage at present. There are many things I’d like to do, but somehow I don’t quite find the time to do them. It’s not that I have too much to do. In fact, I achieve very little each day. It’s more that I’ve fallen into a state of lethargy where I just don’t get round to doing anything. By the time I get going, it’s time for lunch. By the time I’ve cooked, eaten, and washed up lunch it’s mid-afternoon and I come up to my study to do some work but somehow don’t quite get round to anything useful until it’s time for an evening meal, after which I feel mellow and not ready to start anything much. The days slip by, and somehow, nothing meaningful gets done.

I chide myself every evening as I look back on the fruitless day I’ve just had. This wasn’t what I intended when I got out of bed, and I go to bed feeling the waste and promising myself I’ll do so much more tomorrow, but somehow I don’t.

Meanwhile, my imagination races on subjects over which I have no control, conversations I’d like to have with a child I’ll never see again, things he might say if given the chance, even though last time I saw him he rarely spoke more than a single word. I reflect on the qualities he now seems to have which no one sees when he is present, but which light up as obvious in retrospect. I think of his sensitivity, though no one who spends their day with him would call him sensitive, of his patience, though few who work with him would call him patient, of his wisdom, though I doubt those responsible for his safety would call him wise. Yet, I remember the times he showed me patience and wisdom, when he listened to advice, weighing it and showing by his actions he agreed, when he understood abstract concepts far beyond his supposed ability. I remember the two occasions when, under stress and faced with a certain urgency of expression, he came out with involved sentences fully formed and way beyond anything his school was trying to teach him. I reflect much of the time on what this might mean, and I can't help imagining what he might want to say.

I suppose much of my preoccupation with this arises from powerlessness. Put simply, it doesn’t matter what I think now. I shall have no further part in his life. My observations mean nothing because no one will ever ask for them. I really am wasting my time on them because no one can possibly benefit. My speculations are completely pointless and yet they fill my waking hours as if they are all that really matter when in reality they can achieve nothing.

When I reflect on the last couple of years, on the two people who burst into my experience in a welcome explosion of hope, I can’t help thinking he was the sensible one, though I didn’t see it at the time. He was the one who would listen, who would let me explain, who seemed to welcome being kept informed. He was the one making the effort to change, to advance himself, not with impossible projects beyond his means, but step by step. There was, it now seems, so much about him hidden, which he kept out of sight, secrets he kept to himself I will never now know.

There were little glimmers of hope shining in the darkness, little indications of something unseen hidden away. Sometimes I caught glimpses of the boy he really was, so different from his normal appearance and behaviour, showing there was something else inside and kept well out of sight, lest prying eyes should unveil the secret, and yet, just possibly, longing to be set free to be able to express himself but afraid to come out for fear of consequences. Surely all this is fantasy and yet, can I be so sure?

I can’t help my mind running over such things, and it’s so busy running I have little time for anything else.

The days pass. The sun has bounced off the Tropic and begun its long journey South, and as day succeeds to day, we move onward toward Winter. Will my Summer be wasted? I hope not.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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