I heard a woman say it on the radio today. We all disappear, she said.
She was referring to death and dying. You're here, then you're not. The people closest to you will cry, hang your picture, remember you until they can't and then you're gone.
But sometimes people reappear, long after they've achieved their silent, nameless transparency.
Take my earliest Van Diemonian ancestors. Buried in unmarked graves by their embarrassed children, John and Agnes disappeared quicker than most.
She was born in Glasgow, Scotland in March 1832. She had a mum, a dad, a brother and a sister. When she was 16 she was caught stealing clothes and sent by boat, an unaccompanied minor, to the other end of the earth. Do you remember what you were like at 16?
The records tell us she was ruddy and freckled with brown hair and light blue eyes. Can you picture her? She could read and write too.
When they banished her from Hobart Town she was a tattooed state-made orphan. He was 30 when they wed in Launceston on April 21, 1851.
The couple moved to the north west coast of Tassie and lived on a farm with their kids. In time, they were hidden in the earth.
Yesterday, my uncle sent me an email. I clicked on the attachment and John Townsend appeared.
We all disappear. Sometimes, we reappear.