Tonight I miss you, but I’ve been doing my crying in the shower to avoid spoiling more fruit!
I’ve managed to get my contract wound up and my flights booked so I will make it home for Christmas day with hours to spare.
M will not be on his own. There will be no one sitting alone in the snow, at least not my brother.
I will do what I do, what women do. I’ll be fragile enough to be somehow strong. I’ll try to be the plaster that makes it just about ok.
Part of me is relieved. Part of me what’s to smack him in the teeth for laying all the weight on me, because I have to go home and lift him up when I’d kind of like to sink, slump, be carried. But family is family and kindnesses, forgivenesses matter much more than keeping score.
Love binds but also bends. He needs me so I will get there.
I can’t help but think about last year – my sudden awful realisation from half a world away, at the ass end of Nigeria, that it might be the last time I got a chance to be with you, that it might just be the last time that only thousands of miles were in my way.
Then came the comedy of errors that seemed to conspire against my efforts to get home: the elections that turned ugly, the security lockdown, the snow storm, the flights not flying and then the long long wait at the airport for a miracle to get me through miles of snow-blocked roads.
It makes me smile to think how frightened I was that I would be too late. You told me not to fret, that we would just make Christmas later if we needed to and of course you were right.
For years we’d done just that. Christmas was when I came home, even if that happened to be in July. The day in the calendar only meant what we let it mean. We can dream-turn time with will, with a wish… we make it want we want of it, if we believe we can.
But you were dying and that seemed to changed everything. I wanted Christmas to be postcard perfect in a way I had never needed before.
In the end the gods were good to me, I got home and it was bloody awful. Everything hung heavy with the dread of death coming on, the shadow tangled up in the tinsel, the hopes that stuck in my throat.
Belief had thinned, sickened, waned to the full stop that we knew was hanging at the end of the line.
But I’m still thankful bab. That once, I would have rather been with you for awful than anywhere else for great. Sometimes imperfect is just perfect, it is at least almost enough.
If I had a drink, I’d lift it to imperfect with love. We’ll have one for you when I get home…