10. Dream

A thick haar hems us in on another slow day, and I cross the park with hot soup and hope. Through relentless drizzle, I round the bend where lately stomach knots, and pause there, blinking my eyes closed. We don’t know it, but this is your last week at home: almost your last week of all. The day before you struggle to visit us, finding strength to do sparklers with your grandson. Several days before we drive round the local memories, back along the seafront trailing a glowing orange sunset. You knew already.

I look up from where I stand and imagine something. A crazy dream of redemption, where a bizarre healing blob appears above your house, like an enormous drip of honey. Landing on your roof and melting over its edges, spreading across the garden and street, running to my toes and lifting me loosely. Where the two of you step out to look, walking, amazed, hand in hand up the path, absorbing its saving radiance. Where it straightens you, easily – lifts the dragging leg, and you can raise your right hand to shield your eyes. Where you smile broadly, words trip perfectly off your tongue, effortlessly connected to your thoughts. Where the daggers are swept from your back, the rot gouged out and your troubled eyes lit with their old warmth and life.

Where I could backtrack, redundant, and turn away, as the two of you laugh, hug, and trip in a half-dance, up the path, into the road and off, and the sky begins to clear.

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