Absolute Clarity

“He understood you, you know,” she said to me, breaking the silence.

The December wind whipped around the tombstones in the small country cemetery. The leaves sticking like grade-school decoupage to the different colours of stone. It was an unseasonably warm and soft rain.

“Maybe, but he had a horrible track record communicating that understanding.” I said, carefully choosing my words.

“Being gentle on you just wasn’t his way,” she said looking away into the wind, “He’d survived the great depression and world war and was determined you would survive and overcome anything in your path.”

I knelt and traced my fingers through the 2008 on the tombstone, Licking my finger and clearing away the debris.

“I laughed the other day, ya know, I turned the age he was when you and I were born. Two vulnerable, fragile children at 48. I don’t know what I’d do. I’d be helpless. I’d look into my future and realize when my son and daughter were 16, I’d be 64. When they were 30 I’d be 78. I’d look forward and know I’d never seem them reach their stride. It must have been terrifying to stare into your mortality with such absolute clarity.”