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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Three Suicides/Night Falling Fast.

Night falls after the first thoroughly warming sunlit day here. When you get a day like this you begin to imagine your self in the Summer,  the world expands around you. Not on this day though.  Today life contracted,  unsafe, hovering in sinister (summer) light between here and nowhere you can imagine, nothing you can touch, nowhere you can go.

In the morning I get a phone call to tell me that a young man I know, a boy really, has taken his own life. It was not entirely unexpected. He was afflicted, tormented with illness, devils whispering at his mind's borders made porous by mental illness, trying, clamoring without let up to get in. He was lovely.  A sweet boy, desperate in the end for alleviation, for Doctors to reduce the crippling burden of his illness.  The last time I saw him he was, simply,  frightened, leaking pain, and something close to terror. So that you might at least say, at the end,  well, all that suffering is over.   It's done.  Not Doctor's drugs or  cleverality could alleviate what dying has.

And I listen to the Car Radio coming home under the vast empty blue about a woman, a carer of another woman terminally ill with MS, who is charged with Assisting a Suicide. The second woman took what she was not permitted to take,  her own life,  and incapable of certain arrangements was assisted by the first. That seems so to be the case against the living carer, who every day must make the journey from her house to the Central Criminal Court,  accused. Television and Newspaper  Cameras flash piercing jagged light around her as she walks,  holding on to the hand of a man who walks with her.  For dear life.  The sufferer was not found, taken from the rope, the water. Her dying was organized, chosen by herself in light of her progressive suffering, the incremental loss of quality of life, dignity. That doesn't seem to be in dispute. She sought to protect the Carer from consequences. And she prevailed in dying despite some heavy handed policing of the Law. Now the Irish State is is busy, on the case, to criminalize the Carer. Busy, busy. An utterly pointless prosecution while all the while children, so many of them,  harrow themselves into dropping off the edge of the world.

The boy and his sister come home from school and we sit watching an ambulance, a police car, moving up the road to a house just out of sight on the hill,  through our living room window. On this most  lovely day of early summer.  The Boy and I speculate idly as to what that's about. After a time  the Boss comes downstairs phone in hand, stricken. She is indignant as she asks me "do you know what that was, that was (a boy we know)  up there, that's what that was, killed himself, he killed himself, dead, he killed himself and and he's dead, my friends messaged me, that's what that was"  Oh. Decommission that Mother. Do.

"Aw no,  aw no" is all you can find to say. And stupidly "not actually dead".  Not that absurd, chirpy energetic boy, who is haunting the living room now.  "It's true"  the Boy says somberly, adamant. It's on Facebook now.

Later you tell the boy  to get off the phone, night having fallen, the dark well established now. "Why?" he says,  "why?  we're just, I mean talking about it." "Stop talking about it ", you throw back. "Maybe thats what 's wrong with all this"  he says, "not talking about it. "Oh maybe, Oh probably,  darling boy.  But enough, now. Enough,  talking,  going over and over it endlessly,  what happened why happened how happened. Stop talking. Stop messaging. Posting. Stop talking. Now".

You snap off the WI FI, point him to the stairs, tell him to  find his book, play his music, till he falls asleep at last. You tell your pale silenced girl to pray for them. It's all you've got.  Pray for them all,  for his good kind mother, for especially,  her. In this pitch black hour.

                                     Oh What have you Done, Dearest heart (Dearest heart))

Wind back, wind back clock
before he flew out of the  world.
Leaving the rest to live with that.
Agonising that day and the next and the next
and every day ever after that.
Body splits to bring the child in,
heart staggers under the minutiae of effortful loving to sustain him here.
All hope, all future annihilated 
on the twist of the rope, suffocation  of water, the drugs.
Wind back, wind back clock
to the beginning, the  minute before 
the leap into nowhere,
we can follow.

We would tell him, we would say
it does not go on, the pain
comes and  goes
magic sparks when you have given up on it.
We would tell him, grab him, fast
oh if only, clock wind back wind back.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Awakening the Beast/Everybody Knows.

                                                                Everybody Knows.
                                                                                                                                                           "You're … just... looking at this all wrong" the Boy sighed. " Let me explain to you. Again. They mark harder in the Mock Exams on purpose? Because they're like actually told to do that? Like if they marked that hard in the Real Exam everyone would do badly, eh relatively, and there would be terrible um complaints from parents. So, you have to figure on a couple of grades upwards here?  To see the grade you actually deserved. In reality?"
I work really hard at not getting really furious. "So, right, let me get this straight. Your marks in the mocks are not your real marks? Your actual marks are not actually your marks at all?"
"Right!  People always do much better in the Actual Exam. Everyone knows that. So, right,  I'm not actually saying I don't need to do any more study. Of course not! You needn't worry about that! But there's no need for any one to be worried here. Get excited here. That's all I'm saying. Actually. Ok?"
"So, right, it's not that people, having done badly in the Mocks, up their game and work harder then. In reality the people correcting the papers are told to apply a higher standard to the Mocks, and a lower standard to the Real Actual Thing. In order to…what? Give you all a nice surprise on results day? Though, as everyone knows, how.....?"

                                                   You Know Quite Well You Know.
                                                                                                                                                             As As the above exchange takes place the Boss listens to the car radio.  She asks me, my poor messed with  head brimming still with righteous incredulity, if the people, the children and the other people, on the Germanwings plane knew they were join to die, or for like how long they knew they were going to die if they did know they were"
The noise, she explains, the noise of the other pilot trying to get into the cockpit, the noise of the plane dropping. Did they know what was coming. Like how long  would they have known. Would they have known at all?"
"No! Happened too fast. Definately not."
"All over before they knew it" the Boy added bracingly.
Silence. Minutes pass.
Not true, she sighed. Cos she had just googled it now and the plane dropped for at least eight minutes, so they did knew, and they maybe knew for at least eight minutes and the boy and I knew quite well, we knew they knew."
"Um,  eight minutes, but that doesn't mean they knew,  for eight minutes, I mean what was going to happen to them, I mean what did happen to them Darling"
"Only would have known at the end" the Boy said authoritativly.
"Right" she uttered faintly.
A year ago she would have accepted what I said.

                                             Oh Just Shut Up and Let Me Hear the News.

At home the Beautiful Girl joined them in the kitchen, home for the weekend, shedding all her new maturity gladly in a shouty mocking Sibling Reunion.
"Please! Could you all please, just,  Shut Up! I want to, trying to hear the news, the verdict on the Graham Dwyer trial. There's a verdict! Shut Up! Please."
"Graham Dwyer? Who's Graham Dwyer? What verdict? What's the deal? Mum?"
Incredibly, it seems that all those weeks of soundbites, via  Radio and TV, newspaper headlines, media photographs, have not in anyway penetrated the teenage bubble.
"Even you?"  I ask the boy. "Not a whisper ? Not even OMG on Face Book?"
Nope. Not. Not on his newsfeed anyway.
So I give them a summary, having already let the cat out of the bag.  I try to make this brief, sanitized, but that proves difficult and I found myself stumbling throughout the awful narrative of sadistic sex, BDSM websites, cutting, and a murder without witness or confession. The tale of the evidential items  spat up from the Reservoir convulsed by  a summer drought, the  human bones found co-incidentally, fascinates. The Boy lectures me on the technology of phone tracking.  Later they crowd into the living room to listen to nine o'clock news, being, sadly, all ears now.

"But…she,  Elaine O"Hara I mean,  cutting, I knew, we all knew people at school who did that, but why would she let him do all that to her." the Beautiful One comments in horror, distaste.

"She just probably like needed  attention" the Boss offers, before I can attempt a reply.

"So why d'you think he did?" the boy is fascinated and disturbed both.

                               Don't know for Sure but I Think They were Calling forth Demons.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I tell him I just don't know for sure. That it seemed sometimes, in listening to and reading the text chat in the news. like a game.  As though they egged each other on, or at at least that she facilitated his need to engage in a fantasy that became more and more intense. "Like you know, it sounded farcical, like they were  deliberate ratchetting up the lurid fantasy. And then, bang! it was here from the dark side, manifest,  became actual, and she was dead."
And you will be glad to know dear readers that I, noticing the greenish pallor of the Boss, stopped there and sent them all off about their business.   Told the Boy I'll get back to him another time about all that.
                                                  Telling Yourself Stories.

Anyway, I thought on this all week. Listening to the radio, reading about the aftermath of the trial in the newspapers full of previously undisclosed stuff that could now be revealed, a constant flow of information, opinion, analysis, as though neither the media or its audience could disengage from this easily.  I was uneasy with the general consensus on his monstrous depravity, her vulnerable virtue.  Just  telling ourselves more stories, it seemed to me,  palatable and reassuring.

                                             What I want my Children to Know.

So how about this? They were both vulnerable individuals. He allowed himself to be sucked in, until consumed entirely in online deviance, with arrogant ignorance as to where that might take him. She wanting loving attention so badly, offered herself to a darkly irrisitable process. One way or another they were both human, and this is a salutary tale, The internet, the dark web, calls up  the willful, foolhardy thrill seeker in us all,  uncovers the dark id. Together he and she  unleashed this beast. We are everyone of us monster,  and victim, if we don't take care.  So take care. And so I will tell my children.