Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Heaven can wait.

I reconciled myself to separation.

There was no use weeping, that wouldn't change the sad fact that I had been abandoned to my lot.

Pandy, I can tell you that now, without the slightest embarrassment, has a particular smell.

Even though I haven't unpacked him yet from a box after moving house, I don't need his presence at my side to feel his straw stuffing against my face, and to recall by his peculiar smell, his presence.

Strange, how the objects that we become attached to seem to be able to be more alive than alive even when they are in a box somewhere (else).

Strange, how while sleeping, I could see a blur of pixels, and was amusing myself connecting dots into patterns.

There were the connect the dot patterns, that I remember as a child.

I liked the reassuring order of discovering a familiar form.

I hated the maths.

Numbers hold a peculiar fear for me. 

I find counting tiresome.

Connecting dots after all can be such a deadly activity.

My brother and sister had a teacher in primary school who, it was said, punished children for not first drawing dots, and then connecting them precisely in pre-ordained shapes to form numbers.

I can't remember her name, she wasn't my teacher.

She must be dead now.

Strange, to think that this lady lives on in our stories only because of an obsessional compulsion to force children to connect dots her way.

1 2 3 4 5..."Don't forget the dots."

I was connecting dots, just before I got up, to write this.

There were hearts, and elephants (that's not true, I am making that one up).

There were classes of students, universities of people, nodes in networks, communities, hashtags, football matches, picnics, images of people, and then, quite suddenly, Pandy came back to me.

I stuffed Pandy down the side of the bed in the dormitory. 

He represented a connection with my parents, or to be more accurate with my mother.

That close connection, at present, I wanted to hide, to keep private, to make secret for fear of having it destroyed in child-cruel ridicule.

'Baby,he's a baby.'

He had been with me since I couldn't remember, a friend constant, while babysitters had been fleeting.

I decided that I had grown big.

I decided that my massively mature age of nine years old meant that I was now to put up a strong front, to pretend no longer to cry, to pretend to be tough, to pretend to be....

I wasn't quite sure what I should pretend to be.

I thought over the possibilities.

I didn't want to be identified as:

1) a cry-baby
2) my brother's brother
3) a son of a clergyman
4) different.

I decided that I should attempt, to the best of my imagination, to fit in.

Buoyed by boyish sportyness and a keen eye for picking a fight, I resolved myself to taking on a new persona.

While small in stature (the now ex-smallest boy in an all-boys boarding school became inexplicably my best friend over-night),

I wasn't scared of :
1) A fight
2) Tackling boys in British bulldogs
3) Dodging tackles of boys in British bulldogs

They called me Dodger. 

I sort of liked to be known as Dodger (as in artful), it was sort of cool as nick-names go.

I rather preferred Dodger to Snot (as one unfortunate got stuck with).

He became my armour, my Zorro.

Those who know me as Simon, don't really know that I am in fact - Dodger.

And those who don't know my real personality - watch out.

Sunday best

My parents religiously sent me a letter every Sunday.

I can still see their writing, I can still remember the mixed feelings I had on opening their latest missives.

My father's fountain-pen font was the tiniest scrawl that I can ever remember seeing.

Whilst I may be now incapable of reading his dreamt letters without my glasses, I love the form of that dark blue connected script...signed Daddy xxx.

My mother had a particular way of writing a capital D.

I spent many hours on a Sunday morning copying her D.

Lines, and lines and lines of D's.

I eventually managed to reproduce her D.

It became the connector between S and A in my signature. That is a secret code. Noone would guess.

When I sign a cheque, nobody would know that it says...Mummy.

I treasure the letters in my dreams that I no longer have to throw be Dodger.

I have no fear to join my dots aloud.

Joining dots, even in absence, they...they are there.

Strange how boarding school was a marvellous preparation for dealing with 'virtual presence' online.

I knew my parents were there.

I had proof, they sent me letters.

One letter, rolled into another, into another, a stylised Harry Potterish pile of loss, separation...connection.

I know they are there. 

I know they are in a box somewhere in Somerset.

That is an illusion.

Boxes are for bric a brac which one forgets, meaningless junk.

They speak to me all the time, sometimes without me listening.

I know my friends are there. 


I know my friends are there.

I can zoom in on a dot.

I see their avatar, I remember tweets, RT's, I can jump, hop into other chats, documents, hangouts, communities, in and out of boxes...

They are there.

I see myself fading in a cloud of dots, I am there, for them.

I am a Panda stuck in a box. We are Panda's stuck in boxes.

Will Pandy make it to heaven?

He reconciles himself with a little boy called Dodger.

He wanted to keep him secret.

He forgives me.

You are my witness.

My friends.

"And one by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us."

Pablo Neruda


  1. Fearless vulnerability. Dodger. I did not have a Pandy growing up but I made sure my children did Bunny and Emmett. And I made damned sure that they had voices. So glad Pandy found his in the end. We are your witnesses. We are your friends. Thanks once again for these gifts.

    Reminded of this VAsco Popa poem:

    The Small Box

    The small box gets its first teeth
    And its small length
    Its small width and small emptiness
    And all that it has got

    The small box is growing bigger
    And now the cupboard is in it
    That it was in before

    And it grows bigger and bigger and bigger
    And now has in it the room
    And the house and the town and the land
    And the world it was in before

    The small box remembers it childhood
    And by overgreat longing
    It becomes a small box again

    Now in the small box
    Is the whole world quite tiny
    You can easily put it in a pocket
    Easily steal it easily lose it

    Take care of the small box

  2. This is a beautiful enso, comes full circle, brings us with it, hurts the heart, makes me feel full-ish and so appreciative of your willing vulnerability.

  3. I feel the pain of this. How unnecessary it all is. The size of the father's fountain pen scrawl guts me. It says so much. I wish I had better words.