A play to get his teeth into, he liked,
and films that went somewhere and took you with
them. But towards the end, we sensed a change:
the sort of film that had been favourite,
the type of play that once excited him,
became not up to much - beyond which, words
would fail him (reason being, that the words
were porky pies, the problem not so much
with play or lines as with his fading sight -
and concentration). Now and then he'd spark
the old way, when a film would grab him un-
awares and make him sit bolt upright in
his chair - would galvanise him, if you like.
But even that seemed not the same to us.
The mind that had been sharp and critical
would comment like a child at pantomime:
Oh, look at that... she's thinking that he's got
the papers in his pocket! Sometimes, though,
he'd take the stage, become a presence there,
involved; a mentor to the stars: Check out
the bedroom, pal! So very different
from how he'd been before - an audience
of one, but one who would appreciate
the world-within-a-world created there.
What did come as a shock was our last time
together watching some slow-moving film,
a deadly melodrama which I can
not summon-up beyond his summing-up:
They could have cut that scene beside lake,
do you not think? It took us nowhere, told
us nothing. And that ending... nothing there...
too weak by far, an anti-climax, that!
I asked what sort of ending he'd have liked.
I'd rather not have had one, if I speak
the truth. I don't like endings much these days,
I'd rather write my own - not write them down,
you know, just dot them roughly in my head
I thought him disappointed at the end.
He had been calm all through, but his last lines,
though spoken like the trooper that he was,
must have been dotted in his head in much
(too much) confusion. And confusion led
to fear, the thing he'd feared most from the start.
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