Vale Dan the Man

Surfmuppet back from three weeks holiday.
First day at work.
See a requiem card on a desk and think it’s some kind of joke.
No joke.
Dan the man pulled the pin.
Took the invisible parachute up to a high rise hotel on the Gold Coast.
Checked in.
Wrote a brief letter.
Walks to the balcony.

What was Dan thinking about when he worked this cunning happy man deception?
This is what they’re all talking about now.
Nobody knew what you were going though.
Blackdog works in silence.
Casual as anything on the way to the Gold Coast.
Told a caller you couldn’t make a meeting that morning as you had business on the Gold Coast to attend to.
Cunning dog.
Better a live dog than a dead lion, scripture says.
Or a dead dog than a live lion.

Did you close your eyes and feel your way over the parapet?
Feel the rush of air as the laws of physics kick in and gravity locks on.
Should have known something was awry with the size you got to over the years.
You once got so heavy you could hardly walk.
We walked away together from a four legged customer meeting in Camperdown.
Feet killing you.
Tip toeing along your feet so sore with the weight.
Sweat dripping off you.
Thought you’d collapse there and then.
Remember thinking this guy is a dead ringer for a coronary.
Said it to you.
You said.
Nothing – laughed it off.

You moved to Queensland.
Next time I see you I almost didn’t see you.
At Bondi shaping up for an ocean swim.
Walked past a stranger standing on the sand.
Did a double take, eyes meet and you called out.
First ocean swim and looking like you’re well up for it.
Amazed at the transformation.
Must have lost 20 or 30 kilo.
Dugong to dolphin.
You were in the wave before mine so cheered you out into the surf.
Looking so alive and determined.
Plunged in under a wave and then up again for another.
Under that then out the back stroking away.
My wave follows a few minutes later.
Looking out for you.
Saw you out on the deep doing an alternative breast stroke/ free style combo.
Struggling a bit but determination writ large.
Wait to see you run up the sand out of the surf to the finish line.
Big laughing face, proud as punch.
Alive, heaving for air, laughing happy.
As only surviving your first ocean swim can make you.
Time didn’t matter.
Just getting there did.
You said.
Hooked now.
Getting ready for the next one.
Looking forward to it.

Saw you four or five times since.
Bondi spark has faded.
Looking back, should have seen the signs.
Guy doesn’t change from a clone of the Michelin man to a Hugh Jackman X-Man just for the hell of it.
Manages to turn the anger around and use it to strip off the blubber.
You said.
Not enough time to keep going with the exercise regime.
But hoping to keep off the weight.
Some maintenance, Dan.

Anger turns back inwards again.
Runs silent and cuts deep.
Sharper teeth than on any shark lunging out of the abyss.
Feeds you all kinds of lies.
Phantoms you away on a death march through arid, barren lands of fear and self deception.
Lies grow more and more potent.
Only way to hide them now is behind that smile of yours.
Strong man.
Able to hold it together while getting married six weeks ago.
But the blackdog would have fed off that strength.
Got so big, boxed you right in with no options.
Save a Gold Coast balcony on a late July morning.
Final lie says this is ok.

Back in Ireland
Where your people came from Dan.
Fighting stock.
The famous Michael Collins.
An old saying.
“Betwixt the saddle and the ground
The grace of God may still be found”
I pray you found that Grace, brother
In the short flight to the pavement.
You saw the lie for what it was.
Realised in a split second
you were loved and you loved in return.
Reached out and touched the face of God
Who caught you and brought you home.
No more blackdog lies and whispered deceptions.
Only peace
In the warm waters of the great eternal sea.

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