The phone rings.
It’s mum and dad.
Some things never change.
A family of my own now.
Kids I’ll one day hassle myself.
Some things change.

How am I? I’m alright.
What about you? We’re alright.
Some things never change.
Dad is sick.
Really sick this time.
Some things change.

For us, back to work as usual.
The little ones to daycare, school.
Some things never change.
For him, appointments, doctors.
Mum, stressed, worried for the future.
Some things change.

How are you? We’re alright.
How am I? I’m alright.
Some things never change.
It’s me that’s calling every day now.
It’s me that’s worried for them.
Some things change.

The smiles on their faces,
The kids say, “I love you” to grandma and grandpa.
Some things never change.
We look at each other through a handheld window,
Each side of the frame leagues apart.
Some things change.

A winding drive south.
The kids are bored and noisy in the back.
Some things never change.
The trees are blackened sticks now.
A sign of things to come.
Some things change.

A delicious aroma fills the house,
The kids play in the cubby house.
Some things never change.
Where’s grandpa? He’s sick.
We will visit him soon.
Some things change.

A joyous smile,
Love of the most earnest kind.
Some things never change.
He can’t stand now.
Like Boudica atop her chariot.
Some things change.

A kiss goodbye.
Smiles and tears.
Some things never change.
This is the last.
Forever replayed in the mind.
Some things change.

Time drags on, and yet it flies.
What seems to take forever, happens too soon.
Some things never change.
This time, the doctors can do no more.
One last journey south.
Some things change.

The rumbling train creaks,
The the ticket inspector speaks.
Some things never change.
Faces hidden behind masks.
Plenty of spare seats.
Some things change.

Brief glimpses of other lives,
Over back fences.
Some things never change.
A once quiet suburb,
Now dotted with towers.
Some things change.

Bumper to bumper,
The jolting journey east.
Some things never change.
First to the hospital,
Not to home.
Some things change.

A beaming smile,
A terrible joke.
Some things never change.
No glass of wine.
No late night scotch.
Some things change.

That Scottish lilt,
Hard for others to comprehend.
Some things never change.
He can’t sit upright anymore.
The voice is quiet.
Some things change.

He holds my hand,
He looks at me like he always has.
Some things never change.
It’s me that squeezes his hand now.
We have an early night.
Some things change.

Are you in pain today?
“I’m alright.”
Some things never change.
For once, no cheek.
No bad jokes.
Some things change.

What of today?
Still sick, I see.
Some things never change.
The voice now,
Barely a whisper.
Some things change.

His wife sits by him.
Always faithful.
Some things never change.
This time,
She is the stoic one.
Some things change.

A casual nod,
He’ll have a cuppa.
Some things never change.
The cup is lifted,
To his dry lips.
Some things change.

Can you hear me, dad?
He’s not listening.
Some things never change.
The “happy hooker” of the rugby pitch,
Barely a twig now.
Some things change.

See you later dad.
No point making a fuss.
Some things never change.
Fuss comes uninvited.
A misty-eyed drive home.
Some things change.

The morning routine,
A call from the hospital.
Some things never change.
Ten minutes ago.
I’m so sorry.
Some things change.

Sign the form,
Put on the mask.
Some things never change.
Two of us in the room,
Only one of us here.
Some things change.

He’s peaceful now.
The deepest sleep.
Some things change.
Admiration.
Love.
Some things never change.

At some point in about 1989 I played my first videogames on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. This was the beginning of a lifetime obsession with games...