Joey said, ‘My god I haven’t seen you since,’ his voice dropped as he turned to look at the long line of passing cars, ‘well since the accident.’
I hated it when anyone called it that. Accidents happen to careless people; people who take their eyes of the road to change station, or to those who overbalance on rickety stepladders to reach the unreachable. I didn’t answer him.
Joey said, ‘So how are you getting on. Anyone new on the horizon?’
I hated that too. ‘Not yet,’ I replied, ‘it’s still too early.’ I could see what he was thinking. I knew what he wanted to say; everyone said it.
As he walked away with a, ‘well take care and see you around,’ I smiled back.
All the friends I had said that time would heal the pain. They told me that in time I would learn to forget and through time I would be able to cope. Time had turned my friends in to liars; time had abandoned me.
On the day of the funeral he spoke of love, of forgiveness and of salvation. I knew nothing of those things. But then he talked about faith; that with faith anything was possible; mountains were moved, great obstacles eradicated and seemingly imposible tasks achieved. With this thing called faith, he promised anything was possible.
I still park outside her work at five thirty and watch as her colleagues leave the building. Sometimes conkers thud against the roof as the wind loosens their grip above me. I remember how that used to make her laugh. I watch as her colleagues leave the building in their white uniforms. One by one I count them off and believe that if I wait just a little longer she will appear at the very back of the bunch and wave as she always did. I know that her friends see me but they choose to ignore me.
At first they walked over, all full of sympathetic smiles. I never really listened to what they were saying. I would nod and agree but all the time I would keep looking past them towards the door in case I missed her. Eventually they stopped noticing me but I see them snatch a look each evening. I wait until the last has left and all the lights go off in the surgery before I leave. I tell myself that tomorrow she will walk through those doors. I promise myself that if I believe hard enough, if my faith is strong enough that she will come back.
When I get home I eat alone but I set a place for her opposite. I don’t cook for two, that would be silly. That was one of Vikki’s favourite words. I look at her as I eat.
The police told me that he was only a young man. They said that his sister had been killed during the trouble in Iraq. I don’t think Vikki even knew where Iraq was. I don’t hate him for what he did; hating dilutes my belief.
I have her clothes on my pillow at night so that my dreams are filled with vivid memories. I keep having to get new ones out of the drawer because I wake up with them buried deep in my chest and they have started to loose her scent.
Sometimes I pretend that she is still hiding under the bed waiting to flick her arm out and grab my ankles. She was always hiding around the house and being silly. Sometimes I pretend that she is still hiding somewhere waiting to jump out and shout surprise. I don’t pretend much any more; the fall in to reality is an awful long way down.
Last night I spoke with God; I blamed him with venom and hissed in to the darkness. I think last night I lost my faith.
Tonight I will ask Vikki for forgiveness and when the tears finally stop I will say goodbye.
Tomorrow at 5.30 if I find myself passing that conker tree I will not stop. Tomorrow my love I will keep going.
Separate names with a comma.