... a photo of Gran. Didn't think I had one. Was actually, ostensibly, looking for my (excuse for) a will. It was taken in Hamilton sometime in the mid fifties. Out on the front porch of, probably, Gran & Poppa's house. They are central, sitting side by side in chairs. Their three sons and two of their wives stand behind and there are eight grandchildren gaggled along the steps in front; the third wife, my mother, sits next to Gran with my sister Rachel, a babe in arms. That dates it: late 1954 or early '55; possibly Christmas. Poppa is almost indistiguishable, a blur: domed head, round glasses, no discernable self apart from the attitude, a mix of his native aggression and a kind of repletion. Pater familias I guess. Gran looks so like Dad I caught my breath. Spose I should say that he, when old, resembled her. She's smiling in a crooked way, it's a genuine smile but there is also in it the shadow of lifelong appeasement. That could just be the false teeth. Dad always said she was not a happy person. Nor was he a happy person, not in later years. As I said, they were close. That physical resemblance. She wanted a daughter and chose him, the middle son, the dark sensitive one, as her confidante. She used to give him cigarettes and tell him her troubles. Things he probably didn't need to know. When he went into therapy, in Wellington in the mid 1960s (only ten year's later), Mrs. Christella, a Jungian who had studied with Carl Gustav, said untangling his relationship with his mother was the key to a successful outcome; but she was an old woman by then and died before they got very far. His first faltering in fact happened when Ada, his mother, Gran, died, 1963 I think, and he could not control his fear on the flight back to Hamilton for the funeral. He whose life until then had been an immaculate trajectory. Was suddenly unruddered. The severing of the subterranean bond between them was perhaps catastrophic. I don't know. What was she really saying the other night? I want to claw my way back into the dream and ask her. But these things are never really questionable. Or always. Questionable.

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