Now

Listen to your parents for you don’t know when they will no longer be able to guide or advise you. Call them. Pick up and don’t call-screen, for there will inevitably come a day when they are not available, when you cannot hold their hand, feel the texture of their skin or the glint of light in their eye. The shape of their glasses; Their divots and wrinkles. Pay attention to what they say as it is more than likely that you will be saying the same things in a decade or so, your ticks, mannerisms, odd behaviours, hang-ups and quirks will travel down and do their thing to you; remember their clothes, how they eat, their likes and dislikes, what they look like when they sleep, when they wake; how do they drink their tea. Their smell. The cut of their hair, the worn leather on the inside of their shoes; the holes in their socks or ladders in tights. Their voice. Handwriting. Their belief in God or the afterlife. Listen to who they are and ask about their origins, when they were young what were their interests? What were their hopes and aspirations? Don’t wait too long or it will be too late and you can’t turn back time, you can’t rewind life. Hear the laughter of their friends or the conversations with their brothers and sisters, hang-on to the intonation, the sighs and laughter, their tears, grasp their gait, their way of walking, sitting, standing; hear them. Listen to their voice, their cough or sneeze. Syllables; idiosyncrasies. Remember their anger and their rage, as likely or not there will be a moment when you are tested and similar behaviours spill-over; seep out of your carefully controlled self. What excites or disappoints? What confuses? What aspects of life have they worked-out or wish they had understood better when they were your age or older? What are their wishes for the future. What do they hope for you? Have you met or exceeded their expectations? Ask about their childhood; when they were little, what were their favourite foods or toys or games? How did they fill the winter evenings? Radio, TV or cinema? Boyfriend or girlfriend, disappointment and hopes; regret. What was their magic number? Favourite book or song? What did they fear? What did they hate, love, desire? And what do they remember about their parents? What fragments of the past have they been able to convey to you – what more is there to learn about your past in order to guide your future. Don’t always look to tomorrow – the moment that is now when you can reach-out and touch is sometimes the best of times and more valuable than a thousand saved-up tomorrows. And just like your mum and dad, your brother or sister; get to know them before it is too late, before they have moved away or you have grown apart, as they are also fragments of you – of your past, present and future; we inherit 50-50, loving them is loving yourself, hiding from them is like hiding from your mum or dad which is cowering from who you are. Black and white, there is a transparency to ourselves that can only be understood in hindsight, when, it is often too late to capture the importance of the moment. Now, now, now. Go on.

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