26. Jan, 2017

I don't do black

I don’t do black!

     I wrapped my arms around my black woollen coat, but it made no difference at all. I swear the presence of so much black on top of that welsh hill that overlooked the village of Mumbles, made the cold cling to my shivering body.

     ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,’ said the vicar, dabbing his nose with a large, white cotton handkerchief. I swear it was the cold that made his eyes red and the end of his nose blue.

     ‘Black suits you,’ my friend whispered.  I shook my head at the unthinkable thought. How on earth could black suit anyone? Death! It reminded me of death. And as we stood amongst the mourners, watching our dear friend throw a handful of earth on top of her mother’s coffin, I remembered the day I did exactly the same thing, many moons ago.

     She died in my arms you know, my mother! There was very little warning. There one minute, gone the next! Motherless! My whole world changed in seconds.

     Sometime later, (the days rolled into one) I remember standing in the pew, staring at the coffin, my brother was crying. I didn’t cry, not then. I was the lucky one, I was the one who saw her after she had died and knew she wasn’t in the coffin draped with a cloth, suitable for a picnic. You see, I saw them come for her and they all left together. They were happy, I was sure of that and one day I will see her again, when the time is right.

     But here on the hill that separates heaven and the quaint little village of Mumbles, I saw nothing. Felt nothing. I swear it was the cold that did it.

     'Do not bind us with your tears. Set me free and be happy!' Out came the handkerchief again. God, it was cold!

     Later, as I wondered down towards the sea where the pub awaited us with sandwiches, cakes, beer and hot tea, I stopped at the first charity shop I came to. I handed in my black hat, my black scarf and my black gloves, to the woman behind the counter.

     Smiling, I walked into the pub with my snowy white hat and mittens. The relief was instant. I don’t do black but it wasn’t just the black, it was the cold that did it.