The world is so full of heartbreak today I can do nothing more than share my love.
Sometimes we forget the road travelled
And the pain of making commitment work,
When days are bright and weightless,
But we always remember, in the end.
We can’t share all the hard lessons
With those we love. It would break
Them and us to understand
Sacrifice is a part of daily life.
There is a corner all f us turn
Where the past does become a different
Place, and the present outshines
Whatever future there might be.
I have just closed a book about
Friends dying before their time. The
Echoes of our shared histories live
Forever inside and outside us.
We hugged in the garden, and I was taller
Than you. You laughed at this new
Closeness in our old age. But it was
Really about always being in love.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 100
‘Is that all you ever think about?’ Katharina says as he lets them into the house. ‘Drink?’
‘What else is there at times like these?’ Robert says. ‘We need to live now, not tomorrow.’
‘And yet you wait for Mum,’ Marit says. ‘And you’ve waited for all these years.’
Robert shrugs, and pokes at the fire in the living room, throws another log onto it, turns to a different decanter with a different set of glasses arranged around it upside down on a silver tray. The dark liquid swirls sluggishly around the dimpled crystal. ‘And I’ll wait for all the years of eternity. That’s a different kind of tomorrow.’ He turns six glasses the right way up and pours them full almost to the rim. He hands a glass to each of them, lifts his own glass up in front of his eyes, arm outstretched. ‘To today,’ he says loudly, his voice firm and certain again, and no sign of a tremble.
They all raise their glasses to the centre of their circle. ‘To today,’ they echo.
Aggie smiles at Robert through the ruby of the wine. She wishes he had been her mentor. Someone kind and generous, someone who always gives of themselves even when they’re almost running on empty. Rather than the hateful vengeful bitter twisted mentor she had, the one who should have saved her and released her but instead turned her into something, someone, she still doesn’t understand, and whom she fights at every twist and turn, in most of the rooms in her mind, so she won’t turn into a similarly malicious creature. She sees again why Cassandra would have fallen in love with this man, but can’t understand, will never understand why she turned away from him, allied herself with Valentine, shared a bed with Valentine. Can someone really give up that much of themselves, lie with someone they hate for many long years just because they want to destroy that person and their goals? She drinks the port in one gulp to hide her shudder at the thought.
‘You’re supposed to savour it,’ Robert says, grinning. ‘Have some more, and sip it gratefully this time.’
‘Sorry,’ she says.
‘I do know what you were thinking,’ he says. ‘And I can’t explain it or understand it either. Nor can I understand or explain myself. I am what I am.’
‘You should turn that into a song,’ Marit says.
‘It’s been done, my dear,’ Robert says. ‘And much better than I ever could do it. I’ll stick to the hymns and classicals, I think.’ He lowers himself into his chair, frowns. ‘It could have been another one of Cassie’s tricks, I suppose.’
‘What?’ Zav says.
‘The lights and curtains,’ Robert says. ‘She always was a whizz with electronics. She should have been an electronics engineer, really.’ He puts his glass down on the table next to him. ‘I’ll be right back.’ He leaves the room.
‘What’s he doing now?’ Anna says.
‘Trying to prove to himself ghosts don’t exist,’ Marit says. ‘Perhaps it doesn’t fit in with his faith.’
‘I’d have thought it would do exactly that,’ Katharina says. ‘The Holy Ghost and all that. The spirits of the dead.’
‘Really?’ Zav says. ‘I find that an impossibility.’
‘There’s something very touching about your attempts at rationality,’ Anna says. ‘Like your world would collapse if there wasn’t an explanation for everything.’
‘It’s called science,’ Zav says. ‘There is nothing else.’
‘Says the Philosophy student,’ Aggie says.
‘Philosophy is a science,’ he says. ‘Not one of the humanities.’
‘Ah,’ Robert says, back in the room. ‘And Physics is a humanity. The science of true philosophers.’ He sits down again, shakes his head. ‘Nothing to be found. No wires, nothing.’ He looks at them all. ‘And, by the way, faith and science can go hand in hand with each other. That is the entire point.’ He leans back. ‘And now it’s time for bed. Big day tomorrow. Decisions to be made.’ He waves a hand impatiently at them. ‘Off you go. Choose your own rooms. The housekeeper was in this morning and made up all the beds. And it’ll be fairly obvious which is my room.’
‘It is,’ Aggie says. ‘It is.’