Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Water of life

“Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.” 

The old man sat back in his armchair. “That's what's gonna' be set on my headstone, Lenny C himself wrote it (he still talked about Lenny C like he was a close friend), I lived it, surely did.” Bobby didn't like it when dad spoke this way, it came around, regularly, seasonally or every few days, usually in some moment of slightly drunk reflection. Dad was now moving forwards in the battered chair, ready to share more wisdom. “Urine!” He cried, “never be afraid to drink it. Urotherapy, that's the answer to questions you may have never even have asked. Look at me, pushing seventy seven, a glass every day, you know what's in that stuff?” Bobby resisted the question's hook, “Dad, I know all about your thoughts and habits over urine, you're not going to convert me, mum tried that remember.” Bobby smiled and laughed a bit, giving dad the slightly mixed message of pleasant approval, the happy thought of mum all tinged with a degree of assumed adult scepticism.

Dad had always liked to share his theories, daily beetroot balls, cigar smoke, red wine, tripe cooked in milk, turpentine foot spas, exercise by fidget, dairy produce v vegetables, spending time at high altitude. Bobby had heard them all and in fairness he had observed his dad's health stay pretty stable over the years. He wondered if, this complex set of varying regimes and tastes actually was working. Dad was maybe onto something. He wondered if his dad was just a lucky, crazy man. That was the problem, you looked at people, knew them, clocked their behaviours but you never did really know, life remained a mystery.

Back home, Bobby's dad was labelling up today's batch of urine. He used the three day theory. Pee it and bottle it and let it rest up, then in three days, sip it early in the day and before your first pee of that day. Dad had come across the urine therapy when researching cancer treatments, he'd also heard about it used in conjunction with a yoga based regime. It was late, well ten thirty, eight hours sleep was also a lifestyle requirement, dad's various theories all knitted together, he felt he was on a roll. A roll to live a long, long time.

He looked one more time at the clock, the hands had moved just a minute, he turned to the laptop and clicked onto the health blog he followed. There was a banner headline tracking across...bull's semen...cereals from the New World...locusts and their protein content...Springtime in Malta...Dad blinked and looked away from the screen, the messages running on...endless bits of spurious and unproven advice, good ideas, bad ideas and scams, how could you ever tell? He sat on the leather chair, his head was heavy and it fell forwards and down into his upturned hands. All this living, all this struggling and playing, all the schemes and remedies, none were worth it. They were there like grey distractions, games and diversions he followed when all he really wanted to do was follow someone else; his Megan. Megan had been gone ten years now, ten good years he supposed. She was gone, too soon, but the words she'd left him with had marked and now he needed to be free and follow her, not these cherished ideas she'd held. She'd said, a twinkle still in her eye, still there, “I haven't had Champagne for a long time, I wonder if it would have made a difference?”

“Since the day of my birth, my death has begun it's walk. It is walking towards me, without hurrying.” Jean Cocteau.

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