I was drawn to him.
That morning I felt the call and flew close where I waited, circling and swooping in the early light, watching the house in the pale dawn. The air was still; it too was waiting. Soon he would come and we would guide him.
Dawn breaks gently, the gradual lifting of dark making way for light. Contours of land and form rise through the slow dawn. The waking world of day emerging from the blackness of night.
Rising, rising, higher and higher in the breathless air I swoop then plummet, diving recklessly, dropping like a stone, waiting for the moment when instinct pulls me skyward to safety. My performance perfect for an audience of none.
Light glints on glass as he steps out, rakish eyes fixed on the sky. He knows as I do, flight is imminent. He runs through the long grass below, shedding layers till naked and new he calls to me. His footsteps cut a slick path through the dewy grass and he raises a hand to the sky as I guide him to the edge. Flight lies beyond his mortal grasp, but as I swoop and plummet watching from above, delicate buds sprout and push through pale skin. Unfurling slowly as he runs; downy, feathery, white.
In the thick of the bush he is no longer visible, swallowed by the weight of trees and vines, the scene is still and the light grows. Fingers of sunlight pushing through the horizons boundary, stretching to the waiting land. Rippling water painted orange, red and gold.
He appears close to the cliff through the edge of the bush, the canopy of leaves opening to hopeful morning sky. Searching wildly his eyes meet mine. Joy and hope glitter in those eyes that see more than the sunrise, the jagged cliff and the ocean far below.
He reaches out a hand, believing I might carry him away, but his body succumbs to the pull of gravity. Twisting and turning in yearned for flight he is welcomed by the waves. No trace, no resistance, no second chances.
The lights’ assault persists; rays bright and glaring strike waves and coast in angry protest to life taken too soon. Waves beat against the rocks sounding out the passage of time and the sun rises from the edge of the world. The call is gone, the ocean still, and I swoop and fly in careful arcs above that place where he is. I wait, watching the waves ready him for flight with borrowed wings - from this life to the next.
Evan F. Skylark: March 13th 1981 - November 9th 2007.
Son of Mary (nee O’Shay) and Frank Skylark of Belfast, Ireland, husband to Billie and father to Evie and Sunny.
Painter, sculptor and local architect Evan Skylark’s premature death has shocked the community of St. Cloud. Death by drowning has been ruled accidental by the coroner and a memorial will be held for friends and family at St. Anne lookout point at 3pm on November 19th.Evan Skylark will be remembered for his contribution to St. Cloud’s architecture and city design. St. Cloud International Airport, due to open next year is the product of his talent and passion for St. Cloud and its community.
Family request that those wishing to send flowers should instead make a donation to: www.whitewings.com, a charitable trust supporting mental health.
(Extract from St. Cloud Herald, Obituaries, November 12th 2007)
When I was small I’d play happy families as little girls do. Tea parties with dolls and stuffed toys; teddies my boy babies and plastic dolls with pink cheeks and blinking eyelids my little girls.
I’d play house where I was Mom, and the toys my brood of adorable children. But my version of house always involved two Dads. Two different and equally wonderful Dads; which is funny seeing as at that particular time I didn’t have one.
The Dad’s in my games would go to work, come back for dinner, fix things then help me put the toys to bed. All very traditional aside from the fact there were two.
I wonder now if I was making up for the missing place at our dinner table; the Daddy I didn’t have. I wonder if seeing Mom alone made me overcompensate in those childish games. In real life my Mom mightn’t have a husband but in my world of make believe I’d found her two; just in case.
My Mom would have two husbands who loved her, and were kind, and funny, and handsome and strong. They’d have to be strong because my Mom deserved that. Mommies weren’t meant to be alone. That was how it worked and this was how I played. And strangely, or maybe sadly this was how it was to play out. Not for my precious Mom but for me. A real life parallel quite different yet so aligned in theme these arbitrary childhood memories return crystal clear.
This is how my path was moulded, a fate contrived for the child who believed two loves were better than one.
Although later Mom would meet and marry a wonderful man who would become the perfect father, somewhere deep an idea had taken root. A belief so layered in conformity I no longer recognised or cared to acknowledge its existence.
Looking back, in light of how things turned out, I wonder if I’d created a space within myself that could only ever be filled by two great loves.
Loved for the things that separated them and the way they so seamlessly fit into the puzzle of my world. My two missing pieces.
Evan and Jack. Two loves, one life, one taken, one lost.