If rain is likened to tears
Then snow should be likened to memories
Formed into a structure.
Crystals that land softly
Some to dissolve on contact
Others to settle.
Sometimes into layers
Crunching crisply underfoot
Hard and unforgiving.
Watch your step or
Painful and lasting.
A friend has been speaking to me about their past.
I will not name them, for their privacy is their fortress.
The past they speak of is theirs vicariously.
They have found themselves, in the alien world of lockdown, thinking of matters long lain dormant.
The secret rooms of shame.
Not their shame, not their secrets.
Knowing what I do and the subject matter that sometimes clouds my working life, my friend spoke about that endured by their sibling.
Caused by a parent.
The incomprehension they felt as a child, and the guilt they feel as an adult.
We spoke of ‘it’.
Snippets of images in my friend’s mind’s eye.
Snippets of disclosure from their sibling.
Layer upon layer of lasting pain.
Stress fractures on relationships.
Habits hard to break.
Their sorrow as self-contained and as intricate as a snowflake.
The pattern delicate but impenetrable.
When they stopped speaking
I longed to fill the physical space that the current restrictions have imposed.
My friend would be sat next to me.
I picture them: sat on my sofa, there would be a glass, untouched, and a pile of tissues, helpless in their task to absorb hurt.
I wanted to reach out.
A phone call doesn’t allow for this.
So I talked instead.
Hoping my voice would carry the comfort I wanted to give.
Trying to stop my analytical self from taking over.
Knowing that I am ill qualified to advise, I remind my friend of all the good they have done.
All the good they have achieved.
I remind them of all the giving they have done and then of how loved they are.
I remind them of their future plans.
The soft glow of possibility.
I hear them at the end of the phone as their tears gather and break.
‘I’m so tired now,’ my friend says and I end the call.
Night night and lots of love.
The body seeks solace in sleep.
Outside the snow kept falling.
(Not quite a) Postscript:
It was winter still when I wrote this.
It is now spring.
Thousands of words have been voiced since that call.
Sometimes there is anger.
Sometimes there is pain.
Sometimes there are dreams that my friend recounts.
We talk more.
As I seek to reassure them, I think of Pandora’s box.
When all the ills of the world are released.