103. The Rising Sun

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But in the rising sun you can feel your life begin
Universe at play inside your DNA
You're a billion years old today


25th February 1972


George doesn't come in this room anymore. He's not set foot inside since the start of December. Sometimes he stands on the threshold, like now, and peers inside the shadowy room, as if he expects something to come leering out at him. There are faces in the dark. Faces George couldn't stand to look at anymore.

He'd come downstairs with the notion of meditating, something he has struggled to maintain in the last few months. It helps, when he can do it, but George's mind has been less than focused in recent weeks.

He didn't sleep very well. He could only manage cat naps, half an hour or so at a time. The rest of the night he spent lying on his back, staring at the ceiling, trying to think about what to do next. Bobby didn't catch his plane after he found out about Hannah. John appears to be squatting in Friar Park now. Neither are going anywhere until George gives them some answers. They don't understand, it's not as simple as that. He started explaining to Bobby yesterday, but once John stuck his oar in, George lost his patience and then his temper and he gave up. He's not sure he's even capable of explaining. George has repeated the lies so often, he's starting to forget the truth.

He can't have a room in his house where he's afraid to tread. That's just daft. If he doesn't want this room anymore he should get rid of it. Change it. Maybe even knock it through to the kitchen next door. Who is there to stop him?

Before he can change his mind, he steps inside, sets the coffee mug and the two diaries he's been nursing down on the arm of one of the chairs and crosses to the far end. He pulls back the floor length drapes, disturbing the dust and allowing the early morning light to invade the room. It's not long after dawn, except there wasn't really a dawn this morning. No sunrise. Just the darkness getting lighter. The sky is a pale grey, no break in the clouds. Rain threatening. George hesitates to steel himself for a moment, looking out through the french doors at the terrace garden, still barren at this time year, then he forces himself to turn around and face it.

The wall. Hannah's wall.

Dust motes float in the shafts of white February sunlight, illuminating the photographs there. All the photos that George gathered and framed and mounted on this wall for Hannah's Christmas present in '69. Pictures of their life from when they met up to the birth of their daughter, nine years later. 1969 had been a difficult year for many reasons, but not least for the loss of Minnie and how her death had meant Hannah had to try, maybe in vain, to come to terms with her past. It'd been a perfect gift for his sentimental Hannah, who would value this higher than anything he could have bought for her with money. It would make her eyes cloud with tears and make her realise how much she had with him and Bobbie and their life together. At least, that was his intention. The message has been lost, it seems.

Hannah had added more photos to it herself. After she'd come out of hospital she started taking a lot of photos, of George, of Bobbie, of anything and everything they did together. There's snaps of them in India this time last year, more of them in Los Angeles, on holiday, at home and in recording studios as they worked together on Minnie's album, ultimately to shelve it when Hannah had gone as far as she felt she could without John's input. 

There are two more photos, framed together and ready to go up on the wall. They're not very big photos. They were taken on Mal's pocket instamatic camera and one's a bit blurry, but they are - were - important.  George had them professionally mounted before, as a homecoming gift, but now they'll never be on the wall. The picture leans face to the wall against the fireplace surround. George won't look at it. He should throw it out.

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