Chapter 8 –¬†Rocco’s reflections

Rocco was still sitting on the bench. The flow of tears lessened, his breathing deepened, his racing mind quietened. He saw clearer, realised that this deep-seated angry pain boiling within him stemmed from grief, which had matured in him like a festering stab wound, infecting him with dark thoughts and ungracious spirits, driving him to be constantly cranky with his loved ones, to neglect his responsibilities as a father, as a role model, as a member of New Society.

He attempted to stop the thoughts and contemplated his environment. Birds whizzed back and forth, hunter-gathered, and chased each other, their flurries of activity interjected with solemn moments of pruning, bathing, singing, and contemplation, playing their part in the great game of existence. Circadas chirped their hearts out, soaking the area around them in distinct tones of vibratory energy which seems unbearable at first, then becomes a natural part of the environment within moments. People walked or rode past, some curious as to what Rocco was up to, some intent on themselves or their dogs or their children. He waved an extra-concerned woman along, stating that he was okay. Her dog seemed to have taken a liking to him. All the while the trees whooshed gently in the light breeze, their leaves playing catch with the sunlight, the dappled shade was comfortable to sit in, no ants, mosquitos, or flies were bothering him for the time being.

New thoughts shaped, and the angry episode he had just created suddenly seemed silly and over the top. He was going to see his very best friend and step-brother the very next day, and they were going to journey together to meet the Grandmother once more. He had not seen Kevesh since Soleil had died, and tomorrow was going to be the day of their reunion. And they were going to dive deep into ceremony right away, just what Rocco needed, he knew it, had been relieved (and only a slight bit nervous) when Kev had suggested it the previous week.

Oh my god how I look forward to be with the Mother, please teach me how to feel love again.

Yet here he was, blowing up like a child over a routine work failure. He looked around once more, gathering himself. Rocco the cynic felt mocked by the colourful afternoon scene with its happily chirping birds, the unblemished blue sky with its puffy white sheep clouds hanging orderly from it. What was the point? Life felt so bitter now. Every day was a chore.

But overlaying the despair was a new feeling, fuelling the old, level-headed, optimistic Rocco. He tapped into that feeling, and felt appreciation for being alive for the first time in what seemed like ages. The near-miss had changed something within him. The sheer luck he had had at not injuring himself or someone else, that feeling of ‘not wanting to die’, that urge to stay here and play out the rest of his life, of not being done, of having other things to accomplish, aspirations to fulfil, teenagers to guide, parents to care for, people to love. Rocco felt himself softening, his heart warming, to the beauty, and the infinite variety of the web of life created around him, for him, with him, within him.

He shook his head and stood up, testing his knees. He needed to think about all this calmly, he needed to make some lists. But first of all he needed to get home, and tidy himself up so he wouldn’t give Leila a fright.