He was the finest carmudgeon I ever knew, a human blackberry bush. Perhaps others only saw the thorns; I only saw the sweet berries. The thorns were there for protection, a defence for the sweet child who craved love. Perhaps that's why they never hurt me, because I was so safe. That was the way it was with me and him until his winter came and every berry disappeared. Then he was all thorns, retreated inside his own pain and fear. I hope and pray that one day he has a new summer, a new joy to bring that sweetness back. No-one should have to live as thorns in perpetual winter, for in truth, the sun is always there.