We live in strange, strange times. I just got back from Charlton, having been invited there to give a speech at an end of term awards ceremony at school. That went really well, and after it I decided to pop in on Paulo, still living temporarily at Lyn’s bungalow. He’s sorting her things our ready to hand it back to the council.
That place holds so many memories. This time last year, of course, I was still living there, waiting to get my own place. Lyn and I had split up the year before, and she was waiting patiently for my to get my own place. I was just in the very living room where I remember eating countless meals with Lyn, or lying on the sofa on countless evenings watching tv while Lyn composed in her studio. This time last year, things were almost as they had been for the last nine. Lyn had a nasty cough, but I expected she would be fine and that I would be visiting her there for years to come after I moved out.
Yet now that studio is quiet, there is no tv, no more meals at the table. Things seem to have changed in the blink of an eye. most heartbreaking of all, Lyn is gone. As I was discussing with Paulo, it’s uncanny how the vibrant, wonderful person we remember has suddenly become just a memory in so little time.
It’s not just happening with us too. Everything seems to be changing this year, so that old certainties seem to just be evaporating. There is so much grief, so much worry, so much loss: Paulo has lost his aunt too, just as I lost Yaiya. In less than a year, that bungalow in Charlton has gone from being the long term home of my ex partner, where she established herself and built her life as a musician, and the place I spent nine warm, loving, wonderful years with the most incredible person I’ll ever meet, to a dusty shell ready to be handed over to it’s next tenant. In a way all my memories and associations of that place will get wiped and it will become somewhere else; somewhere I can’t visit. I find that very sad indeed, yet also disturbing how swiftly the change came.