War Memoir, by Oz Hardwick

Somewhere in the house a door is closing, and soft footsteps move in the familiar patterns of care. Last night I had that dream in which my mother was alive again, tired but lucid as she ever was. I wanted to ask her what it had been like being dead, whether it had matched her ideas of heaven, but it seemed impolite, or just a bit gauche in the circumstances. While she was alive, I don’t think either of us ever used the word gauche in conversation with each other, though, being Europeans, we could have done with impunity; so when I spoke to her in my dream I didn’t tell her about crumbling unions and rephrased passports. Your great grandmother would have voted for a pig if it had a blue rosette, she once told me, but she wouldn’t have voted for Cameron. When I woke to the sound of a million or more slamming doors, she was dead again, with all its implications, and I thought about my father, far from home, freezing on a pitching deck, also dead but still holding out against a hate that refuses to die.

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