A lantern in the night

Our Jack-o-Lantern

Our Jack-o-Lantern (c)Married to an Alcoholic

A paper lantern ghosts up into the night, hesitates before it is caught by the wind and lifted deeper into the bosom of the sky. We watch its orange glow diminish in the dark, until it is nothing more than an ember shivering in the distance.

This is one of our few rituals – begun after Ben got out of rehab just over a year ago. Around Halloween, we take some paper lanterns to the park across the road, stick a wish to them, and light them up, hoping not to set fire to ourselves in the process.

No matter how many times we do it, we are transfixed as soon as they are airborne. They are like shuttles, of memory and hope, drifting away from us and up towards the stars. Memory, because Ben and I first saw these ethereal paper balloons in Thailand many years ago. Hope, because Rosie always writes a note – to the Moon Fairy – putting in an early request for Christmas.

This time it’s a little different. Instead of a fairy dress, she asks for a “magic portil”. I think this is an excellent choice – one that could help us all out.

The first lantern hovers dangerously close to the ground before climbing gently higher. The second one takes off quickly, but drops down into a tree, burning a hole in itself (the tree was unscathed). Rosie cries, but quickly recovers. She has a torch (a bike light) which she shines into the trees to marvel at the silver backs of leaves.

It all lasts about 30 minutes. Then we’re back home, and Ben sets off for his own place. Not before he has us take some photos by the Jack-o-Lantern. He suggests we have a family portrait as well.

I don’t read anything into this. It is mere nostalgia, this ghost that follows us from room to room. If we let go, the haunting will subside, like the ocean at low tide.



“Intimacy? What is that?”

“It’s when two people share everything, when there are no secrets between them.”
I had to laugh. “No secrets?” I asked him. “It’s not possible. We spend weeks extracting entire biographies from subjects and always when we hook them up to the autopilot, they blurt out some crucial detail we’d missed. So getting every secret out of someone, sorry, it’s just not possible.”
“No… She gives you her secrets. And you give her yours.” Continue reading

The truth about marriage to an alcoholic

source: freehdw.com

Walking downhill, on my way back from work. It’s 7pm and the night has already crept up around me. A leaf lies curled on the pavement, one of many littering the walkway. A thought drifts down, sparked by an earlier encounter: me at the corner shop this morning, waiting to buy a packet of mints, standing behind an alcoholic who fumbles for his money and mishears the shopkeeper when he quotes the price for whatever it is the man is buying. Continue reading

Avoidance is everything

Back to back in the kitchen, where the floorspace is the width of my outspread arms.  I am washing pots. He is stirring a pot of soup. Our eyes are fixed on our respective tasks. “More washing up,” I say. “It’s endless.” He sighs in agreement.

Continue reading

Today is your birthday…

source: recultured.com/Ralph King

Ben’s birthday. Yes. I know. But Rosie can’t be let down when it comes to birthdays. Birthdays are birthdays. There must be cake, special lemonade and gifts. It’s her dad’s birthday and I can’t disappoint. Continue reading