Something He Said by Dan Brotzel

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The day before yesterday, my son said something wonderful.

It was one of those things children say that delight and charm adults, like when his sister called a church ‘an astronaut’s castle’, or when he asked a beekeeper if you can get dragonfly honey.

He took some humdrum adult concept, invested it with poetry and wonder – and gifted me a window into a soul of innocent, compassionate, unjudging creativity.

I smiled at his comment, and briefly we chatted about it. Usually I’m telling him to eat with his knife and fork, while he mimics my cross voice and watches me grow red in the face. This was a different order of conversation.

But I was preoccupied with something non-wonderful at the time too – loading the dishwasher or checking my phone – and soon I was distracted again. The day moved on.

An hour or two later, I found myself searching again for his words. I could still feel the effect of them – indeed my sense of their magic had grown – but I could not retrieve them.

I remembered that thing about trying to recall dreams: don’t think about them directly, and they’ll come back when you’re least expecting it. But two days on, the chances of retrieval seem fainter than ever.

Losing that moment is like the first time you realise you cannot keep all your children’s paintings or schoolbooks. Those precious newborn videos will be casualties of a PC upgrade, and even the baby teeth and locks of hair will fade and discolour in their forgotten shoebox.

I wonder how long I can even hold on to the effect of his words, or even my regret at losing them for ever. I wonder how many more such moments I will squander, and how many I have left.

***

Dan Brotzel

Dan’s first collection of short stories, Hotel du Jack, is published by Sandstone. He is also co-author of a forthcoming comic novel with Unbound, Work in Progress,(formerly Kitten on a Fatberg).

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