I have only been writing in dabs, here and there, really, over the past few days. This is the most constructive piece I’ve started, if you want to give it a look, click.

Daniel spoke of a better time. I sat and listened to him, at his bed-side, as he told me all about his past. He’d lived a long and eventful ninety years. Quite astonishing to recount now on this piece of paper, but he was truly a remarkable man. He explained his understanding of time, how ancient time-pieces covered his walls, sand dripping through their funnels, clocks ticking, and birds chanting in the background. Oh, and he liked birds. Small ones, found normally in eastern Mongolia. But back to what he told me about time.

He said, “Son, Ghalan never knew what time truly was, until the day he died.” In the same soft-spoken way he always did. I was held rapt, as he rarely spoke of his step-father, Ghalan. “I remember looking deeply into his eyes, searching for some sense of wisdom and understanding. I wanted him to impart some sort of insight upon me. Pass on to me some useful knowledge, concerning life – and how I should spend my time. However, the longer I gazed into his eyes, the more I realised that he was scared. Frightened to the core of his being. He didn’t understand anything about this world we all live in. Unlike when he was a child, he couldn’t rely on his parents and their protection; nor did he have their self-confidence, and self-belief.”

As the man slowly told me his story, I couldn’t help but struggle with what I was witnessing. How could this brilliant, old man speak so casually about his life, as it reached it’s end, without feeling despair. I had expected Ghalan to be angry and sad before I arrived, but the man I found in front was the same one I’d shared dinner and good times with, not that long ago.

He carried on, “I’d known Ghalan for most of my life, and on the day he died, I was broken. He didn’t leave me stronger, bursting with knowledge and a sense of how I should live. No, he left me weaker! With even less surety, than when I’d entered the room he died in.” I watched Daniel recount his step-father’s last moments of his life, as his own winded down, and I could hear old-anger trickling from his words, but he shut them down, fighting the urge to open up an old wound.

Like with all wounds to the spirit, I expected he’d torn this particular one open many times, over the years, if only to examine it a little differently.