The website of UK writer Dan McNeil

the sycamore tree

Back to previous page

The sky blacked out.

It began to rain, but he didn’t move. Bigger droplets fell ever faster as he stood in front of his father’s grave. The stone darkened in seconds, even quicker than his clothes.

The big sycamore beckoned him. It beckoned him and it offered him many minutes of shelter beneath thick green leaves. He briefly considered this offer. It was a kind offer with no strings attached, but he graciously declined. Partly, he declined because he was already soaked by the rain, but mostly he declined because he wanted to remember his father, and he required continuity of thought to achieve this.

His father died twenty-nine years ago. He was now thirty-eight and starting to forget what his father had looked like. This saddened him deeply, but it was an inevitable fact of life, memory and ageing.

For the rest of his life, memories of his father continued to blur, despite this and future visits.

On his deathbed though, he remembered his father with a vivid and wonderful clarity, and he took this memory into the next life, assuming there was such a thing.

©Dan McNeil 2021