It was from there the divergence began. Though symmetry existed (a bizarre symmetry that continues to this day, for the mother of my own son is also born to two families of 5 children, her mother the only daughter among sons, her father the only son among daughters), a divergence occured. And so one half of my history waxes, the other wanes.

My Grandfather tells me a tale, once, in a moment of confidence. It is a tale of small-town prejudice, and the malice of the small man. It goes like this. When my Great-Uncle, marries my Great-Grandfather is very proud, and as a wedding gift to the pair buys them a house in Te Aroha. When my second Great-Uncle marries, my Great-Grandfather is again very proud, and also buys them a house, but this time in Hamilton where the young couple is to live. Unfortunately, this house is less expensive that the elder sons’, so he also buys the couple an automobile. But my Grandfather chooses to marry, and my Great-Grandfather gives him 50 pound, and tells him to take care of it.

One waxes, the other wanes.

And so it was that a family is born into moonlight. The fuzzy light, shadowless, secretive. A light to hide shame, where fumbles and trickery are the norm. The soft theatrical spotlight, revealing partial shadow and emphasis, the shepherds’ crook waiting just off-stage to yank the unwanted comedian out and away from the expectant audience. The bawdy laughter rolling out from a bored provincial crowd.

But it was a choice, yes? After making so much of choice in these pages, it’s hard not to see all choice as natural and good, is it not? This is all the more important where the choice is made of honour, of the want to be decent. And most important? A man’s choice is followed by rugged determination to stand by that decision regardless of consequence.

And that was what I learned from that confidence. Fate dictates what will be, and we must wear it stoically, across squared shoulders, for to struggle against fate is to bring suffering, unhappiness. It is only in the understanding of the light in which we are raised that the delicate knitting of fate becomes apparent, and the interwoven threads of our families are laid open to the hazy light of night, and the remedy of the darning needle is stayed, lest it unravel all our lives.

But sunlight did not fall again on his face, ever.

F,FLP

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