Monday, 16 July 2007

Bessy playing hide-and-seek with youthful sneezes

Felix tells me the small pile of stones he's laid in front of the bench are to bring peace to this little stretch of English countryside. This surprised both Bessy and me, given Felix's trenchant opposition to ordered stones and his self-declared bias towards realism.

Bessy never walks past an obstacle without limbering herself up and curling her lips back to make an unattractive grimace. Felix told her that these stones were more than a mere play-thing for dogs. She was clearly offended, as jumping over obstacles is a daily challenge, a proof - if you will - that she is not as decrepit as me. At least, that's how I interpret it.

George is always ready for a challenge. When I arrived at the surgery he was leaping about like a manicured bunny on hot coals. He does this every year, for a whole day, on the anniversary of the death of a friend of his who hopped twenty-four hours a day in order to achieve inner harmony. Remarkably he also did it whilst playing hide-and-seek in badger sets.

My first patient this morning lost his brother whilst playing hide-and-seek when they were three years old. The brother is still out there, apparently, as my patient wouldn't sneeze if he wasn't. Cookie has a rival sibling, she says, but given that I've never heard Cookie sneeze, I can't be sure the sister is still around.

And that's where the pile of rocks Felix built is so interesting to me. If you build something like that, how can you be sure the thing you're building it for isn't hiding behind it? Perhaps he's seeking, and peace is hiding, and always will be. Or maybe Bessy will knock the stones over and realise she's no fresher than me.

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