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Brendan Commane: Fadings

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We live on a jagged edge, where balance is our unknown going between wellness and illness. We attempt to navigate our life, but the unknown, the mysterious is always present and it can take control. Driverless cars still stall, still crash and in the end, they need managing. But that management is only a dream. We live in the darkness of dreams perhaps more than we live in light. Darkness too can give new life, an imagined life.

When a fading takes hold and the light starts to seep out of the underground part, we are unaware. Fadings cast their murky, hazed, blur: gently- gliding, swaying, slowly, carefully, it casts spells and plays tricks. A fading may even let you think it is a friend.

Fadings percolate and their slow drip begins to reverberate. They form a song that is played over and over again. But you do not know the words to the song, you cannot follow its rhythm, it is a distant and unexciting sound that exacts, that overtakes and drowns out the light.

Smashed pots, broken glass, empty chambers can be repaired and filled. Fadings cannot be restored, refurbished, revived or resolved. Swaying this way and that they snake gently, calmly, compelling.

Circumnavigating in the pale, you put it down ready to take it back. Then seconds and minutes later, it has gone. You stop, standing, wondering. Gliding, swaying gently the fadings observe you, adding to their collection.

The collective you: words, numbers, names, dates, thoughts, facts, ideas, moments, memories, the fadings have a list and a method, a procedure and technique to take it all away.

The conscious question you in lies and the reply tells the whole story, the story of an episode that may never happened. In your manner, actions, you describe an event that happened, and could not have happened, and this continues.

Unaware of the fadings, your determined others work at giving you what they think might be needed. All the while you seem to sleep in the darkness where the ebb and flow of the slime can inch you away.

You are not 1 but 2. There is a miserable coming together, of twins separated at birth. You sit in the darkness together. Reality informs you and number 1 responds: “Oh really?”

For fadings reconfigure your patterns, make life untimely. What might yet happen? Has it happened? What is this unwelcome magic?

Slick and sudden, 3 wheels take 2 of you. One wheel digs into the hot, tarmacked road, branding, scoring, marking, as the fadings emulate you at the wheel. Neither the same nor another 1 and 2 dwell in the space of the undetermined, neither in the driver’s seat.

The fadings makes a vapour that takes control and as this starts your sentences become harsh and uncompromising.

Tearing at the wallpaper you yell “I hate it, I hate it all!”

“You of limited intelligence, next time you come, bring someone with more brains!”

And so, it continues until that vapour dissipates and allows you to be at ease, momentarily. Your mournful cry is, “I want to go home!” and this cry goes on penetrating the fadings.

But, home? Is it a space that is never closed, never finished? Is it a space beyond a reflection? Is it a room of many worlds going between, yet all in one?


Brendan Commane is a PhD student working on Dementia friendly environments in care homes. He is an inclusive arts practitioner who has experience with dementia on both a personal and academic level.

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