There has been a brown trainer box sitting on a shelf for the last four years. A box that once contained, a pair of size 9 Merrell trainers that belonged to Seth.I have often looked at the box. I have imaged I had just bought the trainers for Seth and that I was going to give them to him. But heartbreakingly I know that there are no trainers in the box and Seth isn’t here to wear them anyway.
The brown trainer box is deceivingly beautiful because inside is a treasure trove of memories, traces of holidays, warmth, love, wonderful days filled with wonderful sights. For four years I haven’t opened the box, I haven’t taken out the 8mm video tapes that contain the films of all our holidays together. Tapes that have films of Rome, the Roman sites in the south of France, Pompeii, Tivoli, Portugal and holidays taken closer to home with the Roman villas in Bignor and Chedworth, in Portsmouth at Mary Rose and HMS Victory. Taken at a time when Seth was wheelchair bound after his knee reconstruction and then when he started to take his first steps after surgery, a time of challenge and physical pain for Seth and determination for us both.
Before we were married we had an 8mm video camera, the camera that accompanied us on our travels, the video camera that created all of those wonderful memories. On one of our trips it was stolen, the next one we purchased had a memory card so the tapes were put in the trainer box with the intention of getting them digitally transferred. But we never got round to it and for four years since Seth died I looked at the box and knew I couldn’t bare both the pain and joy of watching the contents.
Last week I ordered an 8mm video camera and over the weekend I have watched two of the films .
It was so comforting to see Seth; to hear the timbre of his familiar monotone voice, to feel the warmth of his presence. To laugh and giggle at his impressions and antics to feel the raw pain of their loss. His wheelchair impressions of Andy from Little Britain, letting himself freewheel across the deck of the HMS Victory in his wheelchair shouting …. With me in the top deck filming his silly pranks.
His impression of Chinius Maximus the gladiator with a double chin. Seth hobbling on his newly plated leg and knee, still dealing with the pain of the bone grafts but shouting across the centre of the amphitheatre in Arles “Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.” Then switching in the blink of an eye to the Julius Cesar in Carry on Cleo shouting at the top of his voice infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me …. as it the sound reverberated around the walls.
This weekend is the start of a journey into the past, a past contained on many 8mm films, a past that I long for, a past that is unattainable, a past that was filled with such happy times with the funny, kind and curious man I loved.
So tonight I as look the brown trainer box, I imagine the emotion that will surface as I watch each of the many films. So much love, warmth and laughter and a longing for something and someone so precious; now lost to time.
A love lost, a life lived and place in my heart that can never be filled.