Sin… Spring and the shadow…

It’s the first day of spring today.

Whoop. No, really, Whoop, with a capital ‘W’.

Can you hear the sarcasm in my words? Does it drip like the acid blood of Sigourney Weaver’s Alien, sizzling as it eats through everything it touches? Does it slice like a knife, causing the indescribable pain of a paper cut – that most heinous of wounds?

Or did you think I was being serious? When have you known that, hmmm? No, that’s not true. I can be serious, when necessary, but even then it’s with my tongue firmly in my cheek.

Everyone needs their defence mechanism, don’t they? Some huddle on down inside themselves, peeking over the mental sofa they hide behind to check if the coast is clear. Others sort of project themselves about a foot in front, like the Wizard of Oz bearing down on poor Dorothy, feeling small but trying to appear larger than life, the universe and pretty much everything.

One might be agitated, snapping and sniping like a cranky crocodile whilst another could be a Humble Herman, sitting quietly, hoping he won’t be seen, or heard, or even slightly noticed.

Bernard was like that. The latter. The shrinking violet. The breath on me I may turn to dust.

Oh, and it was BernARD, not Bernerd or Bernud. BernARD.

Not that he’d get up in your face angry, or even raise his voice. He wouldn’t even flicker a freckle – but you’d know. You’d feel his disappointment, his sadness. Sadness, not just at the fact you’d pronounced his name wrong, but also at the fact that he was how he was. Wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a ghost. Wouldn’t even argue with his own reflection.

It wasn’t that he was afraid. He didn’t cower, exactly. He just didn’t… It was as if he stood behind himself, but in doing so he took the interactive parts of his identity with him. The Bernard that you saw was a cardboard cut-out and served as a barrier to the world. Bernard ‘proper’ didn’t hide, he just wasn’t totally visible. You, maybe, caught sight of his shadow if the sun was just so.

I liked Bernard. He was unassuming. He didn’t bother anyone, even if they wanted to bother him. Sometimes I imagined him as an empty crisp packet, one he himself would like to screw up and toss in the bin.

He left yesterday. I don’t know that he was cured, but then I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong – if anything. Perhaps he was here for a break. Some respite. I hope he found it. Whatever the reason, he was here yesterday and today he wasn’t.

Today, it appears, is the first day of spring. I hope Bernard can step out into the sun.

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