Im a big one for telling the truth and being honest. I get in trouble all the time for it. in fact, I've nearly been hit for it on more than one occasion. It's one reason why I be,Ieve people to be arseholes. If you need to hide from the truth you shouldn't be allowed to live.
Anyway, you asked me a question once and I lied. I need to apologize. I need it with all my heart. I don't have many regrets, they're for idiots who aren't strong enough to live with their mistakes, but this is one.
The question you asked was this: why did you stop going to your Dads?
I remember you asking quite clearly. It was saturday afternoon, we were watching TV. Probably that crappy seventies thing about the pickle factory. You loved it and I think you thought I liked it too but, let's be honest, it was shit. I think it was before your cancer started as I don't remember you being in pain. Incidentally, I understand you not telling anyone about it; in fact I have a lot of respect for you because of it. How did you live with that knowledge? It's an amazing feat. Had you shared it with the family I can just imagine the arguments. I still remember the ones about who was going to look after you years before. Nothing like selfish kids, eh?
Anyway, you turned to me and said:
"Jamie,I wa t to ask you a question. I don't want you to get nervous and I'd like to know the truth before I go." Cancer, Gran? Was it? Hmm.
What exactly do you think exactly was happening to me at this point, Ethel? My heart was beating so hard you could use it in a band playing the Imperial March. I was sweaty, clammy and NERVOUS. But I understand you had to ask and I'd have reacted like that if you'd asked if I wanted some sweets.
It was a complicated answer. I was preparing the truth in my head. I just needed some time to think about it. But you threw me a lifeline.
"is it because of the money?"
"Yes! Yes. That's it. The money" what money? Who the fuck knows.
Job over. I made it. Phew.
The truth was this:
When we were younger my sibling and I were very different. We still are but we seem to have swapped roles. I was so quiet, she was forthright. We stopped going simply because Clare asked not to go anymore. I can't speak to her reasoning but for me, looking back, I was kind of glad. I was bored off my tits. We'd go and spend afternoons watching Cath and Hayley perform dance routines. Even to me that was boring.
Pete would sit watching TV. Now and again he'd dangle an exciting activity in front of us (we'll go for a walk in the woods later, he'd say) but we'd never do it.
So there you have it. A simple lie and not really something worth covering up. I've lived with the guilt for a long time. I often thought of correcting the initial lie but as time went on it got harder. And then you went and died on me. I'm not sure Youd have known what I was referring to in the last coup,e of years to be honest.the hours I'd sit there with you talking away as if I knew everyone younger talking about. Good times.
Is it alright if I ask to be absolved of the guilt now? I think 15 years is long enough.
Love you and miss you and think of you every day and have done for the past 11 years.
Ps if the afterlife does exist, if you can visit, why haven't you? I needed you. You were the only one that could've made a difference.