Croby’s not at home.

His hands were so much bigger than hers, so when he told her to put her finger there, she hesitated. She can’t remember his eyes because they were so far up above her. People who knew him always tell her the same stories about him, and say they had loved him dearly. Her heart swells at that, when all she really has was the croby rhyme and some snatches of memory.

Sometimes she wishes he had lived on until she was a grown up and could ask him about all sorts of things. But then, why would you wish someone away from heaven, when this world is so dark?

He was tall and strong. She remembers the time he cried over his birthday present of a video player, and the day when he struggled past her, ashamed of his weakness. If he was here now she would reassure him that she understood that more than she ever expected. Sometimes when she is standing with her own stick she sees him leaning on his ‘staff’ watching one of the bonfires mum lit for him. When she sits in his chair, she feels his frustration but also the deep comfort from the God-filled Donegal view he looked out at.

She knows there’ll be a queue to speak to him in heaven, but she hopes his big hands are ready and waiting for hers. She will have so much to tell him,

or maybe he knows it all already.

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