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A grief narrative by Elisa Valentine


Fingertips run along railings and the latter half of a soft torso rests in chairs once occupied by a giant. These are the new memories. A sampling anyway. The playlist of a Londoner helping tosteer me straight as a bent arrow through a tunnel I will likely never drive clean through. A call from Monsieur Sheehan checking in and reminding me to take care of the basics: eat & sleep. A circle of goddesses making plans back home so I feel held after my midnight arrival due west.

Rise. Remember. Rest. Repeat.

Vintage RAF canvas bag hung on a banister. The scent of a boxful of candles with names like ‘Aurora’ and ‘Campfire’ imbue and light up each room. Ingredients listed as suede, bourbon, tobacco, and grit. The searching for a celtic emblazoned flask that must accompany me to tomorrow's celebration of life. Cursing and laughing at my brother as I timidly rifle through his things searching for said vessel, knowing that the small bottle of Jameson purchased and sipped in his honor will in no real way fit subtly under the black sweater I have planned to don
for the festivities. If its contents lasts 12 hours at all. Grit.

Not the coarse, intrusive kind, that chafes at the gentle edges of one's person or psyche, but the fine stuff. The sandy. The grainy. The almost smooth but still slightly uncomfortable. You’re aware of its presence. It’s sensation is not so terrible you’re urged to be immediately rid of it. And yet, you want things smooth again. You don’t mind the texture because the texture reminds you that you’re here. That they were once here. And that’s ok. That comfortable discomfort. A match is struck then snuffed out deliberately between the tips of two willing fingers. A second
decides to give it a go however, the second does not possess the same perspective as the first…

‘Ohhh! It damn well hurts then!’

‘Of course it hurts.’

‘What’s the trick then?’

‘The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts’.

Lawrence to comrade in a nasty, dark little room, aka basement of British headquarters, Cairo. One of my brother’s favorite movies. We could recite every line, anticipate every bedouin moment, rejoice in our mutual affection for a character every human could do well to at least partially aspire to be. And a fitting tribute to the feelings being felt by a sister who did her very best to glean what she could from one of this world’s most honorable men - to not mind that it hurts.

- Elisa Valentine