(34) An Unexpected Goodbye
Updated: Apr 10
This was to be the third of the August snippets, in which I would explain my piano piece for you. Life, however, or death, more precisely, changed the course of this post.
I know you won't mind if I put your snippet at the end of the previous post that I wrote for you.
Let me explain your piece. It's a waltz - I know you liked waltzes - with a spot of caprice and some lightness, humour, mischief and some sadness. There necessarily is sadness in a goodbye, even though we knew it was coming and was almost hoped for, at the end. Ultimately, in your piece, when it is finished, I hope also to show some frustration, and maybe some upset as well, but all the while and throughout the thing, love. I am sure, Margaret, that you would not have completely painted over a life, rewritten all the wrongs, ignored all the character flaws. You would tell it, warts and all. You would, no doubt, paint the warts bigger and the beauty spots more beautiful, depending on how much you liked or disliked the main character of your stories, but they would be there. Life is warty. It was difficult at times, our relationship, but I loved you, I liked you immensely, in spite of that. And I know you liked me and loved me too, in spite of that. I think you would not have minded my post about you.
I hope my warts are not painted out after I have gone. I think that love in spite of warts is what makes love really count for something. That people loved me in spite of my over-sensitivity, my sometimes absurd lack of confidence, my randomly extreme and sudden shyness; That people loved me even though they saw my neediness for 'likes' on my music videos on social media, and saw my fear that people must like me less if they showed their preference for my cat photos than for my creations; That people loved me when I was down on myself and down on them; And when I was only half listening to a conversation; Or procrastinating, HUGELY; Spending too long on my hair; Forgetting to do something I said I would do; tidying up on the outside, but with tops and pants crammed in willy-nilly and socks unpaired and unmended; Stubborn; Needing the limelight, but in an introverted way; Talking about myself all through your blog post. All this and people REALLY loved me. Yes, PLEASE, say I was talented, creative, loving, passionate about things, a bit wild in a good way, a sometimes quirky bird, a non conformer, caring, kind, compassionate. BUT SAY I HAD WARTS.
Some characters are more or less warty than others. And some goodbyes are more or less sad than others. George is a sad one. He was 31. I did not know him but I said hello to him, waved to him or had a couple of words on a daily basis since coming back home here, out on walks with B, the little boy I look after. George was one of B's heroes, along with Isabelle, Mike, the estate manager, and Dave, the Keeper. So much so that I wrote a song for B a few months ago, shortly after the time where the boy and I went outside and Isabelle, George and Mike were all in the garden together doing maintenance as Garden Cottage is one of the estate house. It made B's day - three out of four! The song was along the lines of 'George is on the tractor, George is on the tractor, busy, busy George, busy, busy George.... And then Mike, with his pick up truck and Isabelle on the quad bike. Busy, busy everyone.
From then on we sung the song at some point on every walk around the estate, after seeing one or other hero or vehicle. In my mind now, I shall see George always on the tractor - happy to be there. After we found out he had died, I took the new Christmas microphone for a wander around the estate, recording scenes and sounds, iconic sights. I reworked B's out-of-tune guitar song for just piano, trying to keep the original simplicity of the piece in tact. Like yours, it too, is a waltz, mostly; in part a lullabye, a definite goodbye. There is sadness in it, but also there is a resounding march, because the original was about tractors, pickup trucks and quad bikes and, therefore, for George, joyous.
Most of the photographs are Alasdair Macleod's. Every now and then I go to his blog, Applecross Life, to search for photos to use in musical projects. And when I look for the photos I invariably end up reading the odd past post. I used to read, hoping that the school featured:
Completely different kettles of fish, but both legendary local characters, while George is eternally on the tractor, Alasdair is cooried up with the merfolk, recounting stories, laughing, talking enthusiastically about Scottish independence, trying to put creel fishing right and enjoying the craic.
Anyway, Margaret, here, in place of yours, is my goodbye for George. I'm still working on Ali's song. This seems to be something I do now, composing pieces for people who will never hear them.