A demand to account for ourselves, often when we're in trouble for some misdemeanour, some failure to come up to the mark.
When we want to convince someone of reality, we say 'this is a true story'.
"Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew..."*
She was in love, passionately, helplessly, once. It lasted mere months and was the unmaking of her. She was old enough to know better. The crash landing was in slow motion - years, decades of spinning in space, hitting the ground hard enough to be buried deep, the wreckage emerging, still.
After him, the one love, she could never meet the world's expectations. Owning a home. Being firmly one of a pair. Children. Grandchildren. She can never see her line extending into the future.
She broke, staggered, survived.
Yet. Did she fail?
She was there on the night crossing from Formentera to Sitges, lying lulled on deck, held by stars.
She was there on the balcony over the thronged Hurghada street, waiting for the smiling Coptic beauty to bring back fried chicken and sugarcane juice from the street stall.
She was there on the hotel balcony in Zahara de los Atunes in the south of Spain. Looking to the night waves, with her heart friend María, with cold white wine. With Serrat singing Machado's poem: 'pilgrim, there is no path: the path is made by walking'
She was there before the Citadel of Damascus at rush hour, in the main square, Saladin mounted in bronze, flanked by warriors.
She was there feasting on a platter piled high with prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, salmon, on the Isle of Harris, after cycling the length of the Western Isles.
The flamenco times, the sea times, the laughter, the trains and boats to new places, the leaving and the arriving. She was there.
This was it. These things are true.
*Falling and Flying Jack Gilbert