• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 02
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Try As I Might

I am, in truth, surprised that you can stay so calm. While it all goes on around you. Around us all. Some of us panic. I’m not proud of that, but I’ll admit it. I don’t find it easy. I’ve been used to privilege, but now none of us have it. You nod your head. As if to say. And that is totally understandable. Why would you want to look at the rumpus? There are other words for it. In Scotland they say kerfuffle. I like that. I have an affinity with the Scots. With the French too, who say brouhaha. Like a laugh, though there’s nothing funny about all this, is there?

You will have a word in your language. Or words in your several languages. We think we’re so clever if we can speak what we call a ‘foreign’ language. No wonder you do not want to look at me. But that calmness, that serenity. Seren is a Welsh name. It means star. I think of a star as a light shining in the darkness. I think of you that way. Though I would like to, well, talk, if we could discover how to bridge the gap. Sorry, I mean if I could discover, why should I expect you to compromise, no I don’t. Except. Except what? Did you ask me, except what? I think this is the beginning.

This. Once. I was in a desert place. With women of the Bedouin. I wanted to know about their lives. I didn’t speak their language but I thought– Well, I thought if I sat with them for some time, quietly, they would tell me, using the words of English they knew, they would tell me about their lives. That did not happen. I had not taken account of the size of the gap. That it would take more than sitting together for an hour. That – and when I think about it now I do realise – that it might take years. And I was not giving them years. I thought, forgive me, that buying the things they made – the beaded bags, all beautiful – was enough.

I have learnt something. Not much, but something. I will not ask you what you are selling. Perhaps I should not even have said that, should not even have thought about buying and selling.


Try As I Might

I hold up my hands. I have had, always had, whatever I wanted. How can I understand what it is like for you?

This. I will sit. And I will listen. And if that means listening to the wind whipping up the sand in a distant place that I will never see, still less understand, let it be so. It is, I hope you will believe me, a start.