Keith is the security guard at an art gallery and a recent widower.
I like it here among the paintings. Quiet, peaceful, warm. Funny word that - art. Add an f an what do you get ? Fart. That's what my father used to say. He didn’t go much on art. Another one, gone to god. They're all gone now. Mum, Eric, Betty, Tom. All gone. Except me. I've been asking for overtime of late. I need to be here at the moment. Among the warm glow. My wife, Drie, went too you see a couple of months ago and I'm not bearing up too well. We were married for 27 years come Christmas. They say four months is the danger time. It's about then when thing's start to get tricky. At first I didn't think it would. I thought I'd be one of the lucky ones. But it's around then you really start to miss them and you begin to realise how empty your life is without them. You begin to understand the real meaning of the word loneliness.
It's all to be expected of course. It's always hardest for the one who remains. The other one sits on a cloud, sipping nice cups of tea, with cream and sugar, while you're stuck down here, among all the tears and memories. Hope they do have tea in heaven. She always loved a good cuppa. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. Like Goldilocks with her bowl of porridge. That's who she was to me. My very own Goldilocks. Have a cup for me love.
That’s what I reckon that flash was all about. I was up in the canteen, on me break. It was so bright it went right through the whole building. Like an xray. They said it was dry lightning. Lightning out of a cloudless sky ? I never seen lightning like that. Then they said it was some build up of static electricity due to the new power station. But I reckon it was something else. (WHISPERING) I reckon it was them over there - sending us a sign that they were okay. Saying hello. It was Drie. Telling me I'm not alone.
Things like that happen. You get little signs and you gotta be aware of them. Like this bloke the other day. He was standing in front of the Magritte for hours, with this intense look on his face. I thought at first that he was, pardon the expression, a little barmy. We get them in here some days, trying to scribble on the Picasso. He wasn't like that though. In fact, he was quite the opposite. "Purify". That was his first word. Not a "Hello" or "What's the time ?", or even "What's this one called ?" Just "Purify." Then he went on. "Sit with it. Go through it. Emerge cleansed." Then he stopped for awhile. Went all silent. And then he said, real quiet like: "Begin now." Then he picked up his bag and just walked off. "Purify. Emerge cleansed. Begin now." Heady stuff. I remember it cause I wrote it down on the back of a piece of newspaper and stuck it in my wallet. I take it out and look at it from time to time. Especially at night. It helps me sleep. Not sure why. But it helps me nod off. I don't who he was or where he come from but I’ll tell you something, I think that chap had a direct line to him up there. You’re gonna think I'm crazy but I think he was some kind of angel sent down to help me out. Those words he said, and the flash, they've given me renewed faith. And nothing, nothing on earth, is more important than that.
You see, that light cleansed us all. It's given me courage to go on. To wake up each morning and try to smile. But never forget she’s there with me. Watching, laughing –gazing down at me through the flash. Sit with it. Go through it. Emerge cleansed. Begin now.
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