42 Days

By Stella Duffy

Forty two days:

The time it took to go from liking her to loving her

to travel from Southampton to Wellington on the Shaw Saville Southern Cross in 1968

to write the first six chapters of my first book seventeen years ago

to begin to understand grief (every time) and that they weren’t coming back (any of them)

to be a good catholic girl and stop sinning and then start again

to go through two lots of chemo

to make one failed IVF attempt

to grow jalapeno plants from seed

to understand A Level calculus

to write, rehearse, and perform my first solo show

to watch the garden change from summer to autumn

to let a Christmas pudding mature (minimum time)

for the hyacinth to bloom.

Long enough to make an enormous difference or none at all

too long for detention without charge

too long for us to stand by and say nothing.