Very much just another blog

We two will make this

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A man we loved died and his estranged brother spoke at the funeral:

Like me, Ben was a Marxist. We believe that people are measured by the impact they have on the world, on people; most of us leave only a fingerprint, Ben left giant footsteps all across the globe.

Our bodies shook for crying and we gasped our loss; this amazing man, so mischievous and bright. He’d borrow a book and lend it on to another person, encourage them to do the same. You’d get the book back months later from someone you hardly knew, paying Ben’s book forward.

I think of Ben often. I feel sometimes that I packed him, or his memory, into my pocket and I carry him with me. Sometimes something happens and, lightly against my fingertips, I remember he’s there. I tell my friend about this and he likes my story and puts his arm ’round my shoulder and our night continues.

Some days later, at nearly midnight, my friend calls me and tells me to meet him on the heath close to my home. I drive there in bare feet, wearing an old boyfriend’s sweater,  huge over mismatched indoor clothes. He is waiting, leaning against a lamppost, a washing up bowl, I think, by his feet. He laughs when he sees me.

Where are your shoes?

At home.

You don’t need them anyway. He nods towards the bowl, which is filled with a bright white paint.

He starts to take his shoes off and, while he’s balancing on one foot, he says: when I was a kid at nursery school we had this amazing day when the teachers rolled out long sheets of wallpaper. They went on forever and we all stood in a line behind them. When you reached the front of the queue you stepped into a tray of paint, hopped out and then sprinted down the paper. Imagine that. All our footsteps. Fucking amazing. Wicked day. My favourite.

And now we’re doing it? I am grinning.

Yup, he says. We’re going to make our mark. I liked your story.

We roll our jeans up to our knees and take turns stepping into the cold paint. Everything ahead is our canvas and we race like lunatics across it. We are thrilled with the energy of it, return to the paint bowl, cover our hands, lay our prints on the grass. My friend is out of breath with laughing. He smears paint on my face and then on his.

When the paint bowl is empty and we are exhausted, he takes my hand and we leave the heath. We leave the car and a mess of patterns behind us. We are still leaving a trail of footprints, as though the paint will never really end.


Written by elikafm

March 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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