By Damien McKeating
ON the first day he arrived they did not know what to do with him. But he made himself at home and they realised that nothing they did would ever be the same again.
On the second day they still did not know what to do with him, but they tried their best.
He kept odd hours and would be found awake in the middle of the night, talking to himself in a language they could not understand.
Sometimes he would sit, for hours at a time, moving and grooving and wiggling his body, as if the whole thing was entirely new to him.
By the end of the first week they suspected he intended to stay indefinitely. The house was littered with his things and, to be honest, even if they had wanted him to leave, they did not know where to send him back to.
Those first days turned into weeks… and they still did not know what to do with him, although it was now a much higher class of not knowing what to do.
However; without discussion, entirely by silent agreement, with just a look, they decided to keep him.
As has been known to happen the weeks turned into months and they discovered they had adapted quite well to life with him. He had become part of the rhythm of their life and, in and of himself, provided no small amount of entertainment.
At some point, they cannot remember when, perhaps it was quite early on or perhaps much later, they realised they loved him. It did not come as a surprise… but, also, it did.
Months turned into years and he changed quite dramatically while also managing to stay the same; a feat that they themselves had forgotten some time past.
As they have been known to do when you’re not paying attention, the years turned into decades. They are surprised by how much he is like them and how much he is not. They are surprised by the things he has learnt and the things he has not. Most especially they are surprised by the things he has learnt that they did not know.
They have lost track of time. There is a sense that time went too quickly but that, also, because he was there that there was also more time than there would have been. He filled the time but did not consume it. He enriched the moments. He gave clarity to every heartbeat. He took everything they had and… gave it all back and more.
On the first day he arrived they did not know what to do with him.
By the last day… they did not know what to do without him.
© Damien McKeating 2016