A Life Well Lived

Sam, my Grandad, passed away on Saturday. For the past few months, my family has been going through the raw, uncomfortable process of losing an important person. Grandad was witty, clever and always supportive. His steady presence was accompanied by a love of history, languages, golf and West Bromwich Albion F.C.

I miss – and will continue to miss – his stories. In April 2013, we stayed with relatives in Mumbles, a village at the far end of Swansea Bay that leads to the Gower Peninsula. I’ve written briefly about this place as home before. On this visit, like many previously, we walked around Oystermouth Castle. As my cousins played on a tire swing and Nanny looked across the bay, Grandad and I ventured through the trees. He gestured to the house where he and my great grandparents had lived in the 1950s, enthusiastically describing how he grew from a teen into a cheeky young man with a motorcycle. Before this he had lived in Ethiopia and afterwards he moved to Birmingham. In the early 1980s, his young family moved back to the Gower, where my Mum later met my Dad, an Oceanography student from Kent.

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For Mum

In the hallway, our childhood photos sit side by side. Occasionally we pause on the stairs, noticing the marked similarities – the full faces, full fringes. I am three, at nursery completing a puzzle, looking away as if I already know where the pieces fit. You are sitting down, tucked neatly next to your sister.

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Moving, Feeling, Remembering

Yesterday I read Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, which tells the story of Morayo Da Silva, a retired Nigerian academic living in San Francisco. Morayo tries out writing in the styles of books she reads, making notes after the final pages. I decided to try the same technique with the stream of consciousness narrative style of Like a Mule. So, here’s a short story:

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