Friday, 26 June 2015


It was 4:12pm when I got the phone call. The nurse’s voice was heavy, but unwrinkled, as if she knew everything that she had to say and didn’t question how best to say it because she’d done it that many times. And if there was ever a contest, if a sick-minded madman ever decided to organise a contest for the best bad news giver, I think that nurse might just get the gold.

But, it wouldn’t be a fair victory. Because see, there is no “best” way to tell someone that their brother was in a car accident, no matter how many apologies you weave into the words. There is no winning way to talk about someone’s life slipping through their own fingers – lost. 


As her voice faded, I lay down and kept every one of my numb limbs as still as possible. I pretended that if I didn’t move, time wouldn’t either. And I wouldn’t have to face the fact that I never told my brother how proud I was of him, of the person he’d become. Not because of his basketball career or his fancy car I couldn’t even pronounce the name of, but because of him. His selflessness, his charm. His determination to be the best possible version of himself, and the way he inspired me to do the same. He never knew, and he’d never know.  

Say what you want to say because, before you even realise, it will be too late. You’ll be laying your left cheek on a damp pillow and you’ll wish on every silver star for another chance. And you might think you’re safe because good things deserve to happen to good people, but this world doesn’t always work out that way. Time, it runs out. Fast.

So speak. 

Tell the girl with the thick rimmed glasses and a nose dotted with freckles that she is everything you’ve ever desired and watch her cheeks crimson at the words. Say thank you to the bus driver, and to the shopkeeper, and to your high school history teacher. Save a thank you for your mother for not only bringing you into this world, but teaching you how to live in it because, I’m pretty sure that without her, you wouldn’t have a clue how. Swallow the self-pride and stretch your tongue to tell the teenage boy in line behind you at the supermarket that the twinkle in his emerald eyes is breathtaking because, after the day he’d had, such a compliment would help to swerve the knife away from his wrist. Words can save people, you know.

If they’re spoken.

Don’t wait. Don’t wait until it is a second away from being too late; don’t wait for snow white hospital sheets and tear stained funeral parlours. Don’t wait for the nurse’s phone call. Don’t wait for the air to thicken as the world tilts a little to the left and then a little to the right and your head feels like it’s about to explode with all those words you left unsaid. Say them.