Deathly ill again, but this time it is my own doing - too much thara and toddy last night. Exhausted and sore from retching. Only now realizing the date, wondering if I attempted to poison myself out of some unconscious urge for punishment. Though I scoff at the notion of curses, I cannot seem to escape from out this lingering umbra of guilt, as though my actions were somehow responsible for the conflagration.
Blaming myself has become reflexive. Where family is concerned, I suppose shame is simply woven into my character - an inescapable destiny of disappointment. I was not even able to make it back to London in time for the funeral; and if I am honest with myself (hangovers are the best vehicle for dark, uncompromised introspection) I must admit that I did not truly try.
Sometimes I imagine myself standing before the distinguished crowd the funeral doubtlessly attracted, and I fantasize about the kind of eulogy I might have delivered. And here, amidst the stifling heat of the Sindh and swarms of flies and the hammering in my head, as I look at the trunk containing my pistol and wonder, is it worth it? perhaps I can finally purge the venom in my heart by exorcising these unkind thoughts onto paper:
I can still remember when I was a boy and buried my father's gold fob watch in the yard. Then I dug it up, and proudly returned it to him, pretending that it was a great treasure. (Seems I am still preoccupied with digging in the dirt!) My, how red in the face he turned! And then he tossed me down the stairs like a sack of potatoes. I dislocated my shoulder, but dared not complain because then he would really get angry. Thank you, Father, for teaching me the value of a stiff upper lip!
And you, Mum: thank you for not sheltering me from such harsh lessons. Thank you also for letting me be the strong one after Davey died in that slimy hole at Passchendaele. Even as I tended to you, overwhelmed by grief as you were, you asked me, "Why did it have to be him, Petey? Why not you?" Did that ever open my eyes! Yet, I could not but share your wish. How glad it makes me to know that you are both reunited at last!
And though she is with us still, I must of course give thanks to my big sister for arranging such a lovely memorial, and for lavishing affection on me during our family's less happy times. Can you remember, Becca, the childhood games we used to play when we were alone? Hide-and-go-seek? Dress-up? They left quite an impression on me, and I will always treas