Nineteen ninety five. We did not know it was the last VE Day that mum would see. There was a party in the street. Mum was indoors crying.
Aren’t you happy mum? We won. That’s why we’re celebrating. We won, we won and you were there. It’s party time.
Don’t celebrate for me. It was not “fun”. A day of sad relief perhaps. It took my cousin, my uncle, your grandad for six years, his health for the rest of his life and what should have been my youth.
Twenty five years on and I see the celebrations on tv and remember mum and the others and I wonder.
Only eagles and adult kites could ride out these winds; and the kites with difficulty. The sparrows, prey, remain motionless beneath palm fronds, an occasional shiver and shuffle of feathers betraying their location. Slower than it had arrived with a thunderburst, the rain slows and stops, the wind calms and in the sudden silence birdsong begins to rise again. Now, before the heat sweeps back in, or the southern storm once more, now is the time to find peace, or make peace, or rest, simply rest.
The reds and the blues had been fighting forever. But it could have been the greens and the yellows. Or the blacks and the whites.
Now the stalemate, the exhaustion, had to become a peace, a peace that carried forward, a peace of people working together and looking to the future.
Everyone agreed until they talked about symbols. Red and blue striped skins? Gentle slanting flashes, colour on colour? Or a gradual shading of red and blue along the years until skins reflected a shared understanding?
Then the scratching began again.