“In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps,
As all they might have done had they been loved.
That nothing cures.”
Faith Healing -Philip Larkin
Depart here: arrive there. I am about to ‘win the exchange’, to put it metaphorically for ahead is an ascent into the sky by A380, leaving behind a bid farewell to the fragments of a life long since passed, still echoing, resonating into that to come: the resumption of the life I chose, the airline chosen to carry me there, and my child waiting for her father to carry her, therefore, an exchange of locations awaits. I will ‘win the exchange’ but it is not without an evinced sense of sorrow. To cherish that disparate fragment left behind so deeply, I will miss it…I know how I will feel and think during take-off next week is ‘Into my heart an air that kills’…one day next year the Bedfordshire chess scene will feel like ‘the land of lost content’, that I can tell … .
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
A Shropshire Lad v.40 A. E. Housman
Behold the spectacle of Bedford Chess Club! Before departing I went there to see both it and its members new and old. It was great to thank Mr. Paul Habershon for the help his has given me and to be escorted to the bar by Mr. Nigel Staddon, now 87 years old, and able to answer the questions I posed. It was also a pleasure to meet Mr. Steve Pike, and have a chat at the bar… in fact I wonder and ask myself did I spend more time chatting in the bar than in the club watching games? All in all, truly amazing it was and whether or not I had drunk cider just before never mattered…not that I would ever do such a thing you understand being on the medication that I am!
At the centre of the county scene flourishes Bedford Chess Club. I was so welcomed, it was so very touching but within my heart a sadness spoke too, it said ‘When you close the door as you leave, you must say goodbye to not just the members but the club as a whole’. Many I met were kind and so polite, happy to see me again. There was much to talk about and part of me wanted not to go but to stay… .
I left the building and there something left me…when the exit door was opened it jarred then splintered through my heart…but I remembered as one door closes another opens, and close it I did…so upon the street I stood alone… .
“Loneliness clarifies. Here silence stands
Like heat. Here leaves unnoticed thicken,
Hidden weeds flower, neglected waters quicken,
Luminously-peopled air ascends;
And past the poppies bluish neutral distance
Ends the land suddenly beyond a beach
Of shapes and shingle. Here is unfenced existence:
Facing the sun, untalkative, out of reach.”Here -Philip Larkin
In Bedford 3, I offer assistance to Steve Pike’s son at @6.10 then appear!
Farewell beloved Bedford Chess Club…it was such a pleasure, I do hope one day I will see you again…once I have won the exchange (of locations) and played on with a better position…perhaps I will return with my daughter to play also…if I can free us up… .
“Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen
Life moves us on. And on. And whilst at the station awaiting an extortionately priced train to where I grew up, that afternoon of horrendous delays extended long into the evening… . It was then, and only then, that my love of the chess club in Bedford became perceptible as a dissonant fragment of a life long passed by, thus a cynical epiphany occurred. I told myself, ‘what I tolerate, so must my child, as she will endure what I endure’. Crap train service as always, for example. I told myself, ‘If you tolerate this (extortionate and crap train service) then your child will be (the) next (to tolerate this extortionate and crap train service)’… .