Poor Tragic Katherine

by Matt Triewly

Your name was Katherine, and I awoke late today thinking of you.

We played on the beach whilst our mothers walked and talked - we would have been about seven or eight - and at first you were shy.

It was a winter Sunday and cold, but it didn't matter - we were wrapped up warm.

We chased each other. We threw stones in the choppy sea. We jumped off low sea walls to land onto soft dry golden sand - Western Gardens, before the never completed relief road.

The disused roller-skate rink with its broken windows - we wandered around there with our mums.

I was young but I kind of grew fond of you and I think we were bought ice creams but it all goes hazy now.

Then you returned to the mainland.

Another recollection. Later. Maybe a couple of months:

I am in the kitchen at home.

Mum speaks to me - she is solemn.

"Katherine's mummy has committed suicide."

I don't think I really reacted. But, it must have gone deep. Really deep. Because now I am thinking: What terrible despair drove her to take her life and abandon her only daughter? To break her little girl's heart - who wouldn't have understood?

What happened to that little girl?

Did she overcome her tragedy and find love in a family of her own?

Did she turn to faith?

Or was her life ruined? Failure at school? A string of unhappy relationships? Drugs?

I'll never know.

And why have I dredged up this memory from so long ago, like a body retrieved years later from a melting glacier?

Poor tragic Katherine. I cannot forget.

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