I felt like I ought to sit there and stare at the hand set for a while as though I could hardly believe what I’d done. To give the moment a second to breathe and become what it was… to become the moment I would later loosely entitle “The Moment I Must Have Entirely Lost My Fucking Mind”. Everything should linger for a minute and then some sort of music circa David Gray’s Babylon should start to play and I’d look all moody sitting there. Later we’d cut back and I’d still be sitting there in the greying, blue light. The flat would look all sparse around me and people would look at me and think “Poor bloke - flats always look crap when there’s no woman around to turn them into homes. Look at the poor sod sitting there. He looks cold. Whatever happened to David Gray?” Then I’d finally break a bit and start a few sobs and everyone’d feel a release because I’d cried finally which must mean I understood and was ready to heal.
I wouldn’t have sat there for very long, but I might have sat there longer if I hadn’t needed a piss. Really badly. I actually just hung up and put my mobile back on the coffee table and did that funny little hop skip step you do when you’re trying to shake the piss back up your dick on your way to the toilet. Maybe if I’d used the land line, and hadn’t needed to evacuate a big mug of finished tea, I might have been more inclined to sit there for a few hours. Land lines just look better for that sort of pivotal moment in a life. They’re clunky and purposeful and you can put the receiver back on the holder and then look at it all reunited and reminisce about phone calls and shit. Hanging up on my iPhone is just rubbing my thumb gently on a big red rectangle and then putting the phone anywhere at all. Sitting staring at an iPhone could mean loads of things; you could be waiting for a timer to go off or waiting for an email. Mobiles do too much to be poignant when you stare at them. Be fucking weird if David Gray kicks off and everyone’s getting sad and then some notification for Clash of Clans pings up.
Sorry to interrupt your moment, mate, but your troops are ready for battle.
I pissed for quite a while and felt better after that.
I suppose, really, I didn’t think I’d done anything that weird.
All I’d done, was agree to a viewing of a wedding venue for a wedding that was no longer happening, because my fiancee was now dead. It sounds weird now I’ve put it out there like that, but, in my head I was sort of thinking I wouldn’t go.
The phone had rang and I’d answered it.
“Hello, is that Mr Hadland?”
“It is, yeah.”
“Hello, this is Sophie from Kites Barn at Hayes Hill. I just wanted to confirm the details for your viewing of the Great Barn tomorrow at 11am?”
“Does 11 still work for you?”
Technically, I was not busy at 11, so…
“Yeah, yeah 11 is fine.”
“Great. I won’t actually be there tomorrow as it’s my day off, but my colleague Elaine will meet you at the front car park to show you round and give you all the details. She’ll be able to answer any questions you may have about the venue and the services we can offer on the day. Will it be just yourself and your fiancee attending?”
“My fiancee can’t actually make it, unfortunately, so it’ll just be me.”
Not a lie. Not actually a lie. She could have made it, I suppose, but it would have been fucking awkward to explain why she looked so disappointed in what, up until yesterday, was her top choice wedding venue.
“Oh, that’s a shame. Well, if you like it you can always organise for another time to come and show her round.”
The opportunity to show her another time did sound good, so again, not a lie. The chance to do absolutely anything with her, ever again, sounded pretty perfect to be honest.
“Brilliant. Well, I hope you like the place; if you need anything in the meantime just give us a call and if you think of anything tomorrow after you’ve left just call the office and someone will be able to help.”
“Great, thanks then. Bye.”
I rubbed my thumb over the red rectangle and then got up and went for a piss.
I haven’t really thought about it much, but, I suppose I must have assumed that maybe there was a holding pen for the newly bereaved where you went so that you could not have to do every day things. Like, if you get ill or something you go to hospital until you’re better… or, if someone is ill you can sit in a waiting room and worry about them. Or, if you broke the law you’d go to the police station or jail maybe. It turns out when someone dies you just find out that they’re dead and then you can go home. There isn’t really anything I need to do. I suppose if she’d died on a Wednesday or something I could have been phoning up and cancelling things, but she died on a Friday so there was no point really ringing anyone or starting to sort out her stuff until Monday.
Is all her stuff called an estate now? Does your stuff become an estate if you’re dead? Or is that just rich or old people? I dunno. I guess I’ll have to help with that. Her sisters and mum’ll get quite involved though. Legally I suppose I’ve got nothing to do with her. Oh, that hurts. That’s weird. Legally and officially we were nothing, I suppose. Didn’t even live together yet. Oh fuck. No, I don’t like that.
Since she died, thinking my thoughts is a bit like eating a bag of Revels. Every now and again one’ll come up that is properly fucking horrible. Really, inhumanly horrible. And you think, how did a human invent that? Then you carry on with them trying to remember which ones you couldn’t stand having again and avoiding letting them into your head.
I was dead keen to get married. None of that ball and chain bull shit worrying nonsense. I couldn’t fucking wait. Get us done, mate. Get it on paper - make it a full on thing that’s chunky and massive and real. Tangible - that’s the word. Weird word for it though, cos ‘tangible’ sounds so light and delicate and I want a word that sounds more like “really fucking there”. Whopping. I fucking loved her. I loved how small and mine she was. I wanted to hold on to her all the time, I wanted to grip her. Really grip her. I use to dream about holding the tops of her arms on that fleshy bit that she hated. Really holding it and looking at my fingers burying into her arm like the flesh was play doh. She wasn’t very muscly. Tiny little thing. I know why I’d dream about it: I think I wanted other ways to be in her. Not in a dirty way; not anal or nothing. But like, I wanted to have her more, you know? So holding her arms and the fat bits popping back up through my fingers meant I was in-between her flesh and I sort of wanted that. I wanted all the ways I could to get in and on and have her. To fucking know her.
I never once did hold on to her arms though. No. She’d have gone loopy. She fucking hated the top of her arms - thought they were fat. They weren’t, but they were fatty, if you get what I mean? She wasn’t a fat bird at all. But she didn’t have any muscle or tone. She was gorgeous. I’d’ve been too scared to bruise her anyway - she bruised like a peach. I hated it. She’d just knock in to the drawers at my place or something and next day there’d be a bruise there. She was so little and delicate. Them bruises just looked horrible on her; nothing should have been allowed to hurt her. If I could have got in her skin somehow and helped her body be stronger then I could have helped. That’s a fucking weird sentence actually, ignore that.
I wish I was numb or something. Sometimes in films when big tragic things happen the main character sort of goes into shock and just wanders round mumbling at people and things. I feel quite normal, in terms of thinking, and then I just feel sad. Obviously ‘sad’ isn’t the best word because it’s some sort of phenomenal, mega sadness rather than ‘sad’. But it’s pretty easy to explain how I feel - I wish I was numb and uncomprehending or something so the time would pass a bit quicker.
“How do you feel Mr Hadland?”
And then I’d just stare at them blankly, and maybe break down a bit like Liam Neeson in Love Actually before he watches Titanic with the pale kid. At the moment I know how I feel.
“How do you feel Mr Hadland?”
“Fucking broken, mate. Horrible. That’s how I feel. Like I want to ban cars until people stop driving them in to people. Like I want to go and stand in the road, yesterday on Market Street at 8:17pm and let the number plate smash into me and then I’ll just lie there on the tarmac and watch that fucking smashing woman walk away and get on with what was going to be a fucking terrific life. And if I can’t do that i want to go and scrape all of her back together. All her tiny little limbs and her shattered, perfect little face and I want them in my arms.”
I guess at that point they’ll look at me and think, “Well that’s a bit graphic and weird.” and I’ll think “Yeah it is but let me explain.”
‘If she absolutely has to die, like, absolutely has to. And if it has to be like that… then when she’s lying there on the ground she’s going to be dying and getting cold and if I can hold on to her then her heat will transfer into me and I can have the last bits of her. The last energy she gives out can go into me and I’ll use it for something, like, next time I do something really good and I’m proud of myself I’ll say the energy I used to do that was her energy, or something. I can’t bottle the blood that went on the road or suck the last breath out of her mouth cos that is fucking creepy. But I could have that heat off her skin. She’d laugh and say something like, ‘I’m just giving it back, babe, that’s all the heat I had off you when I was cold in bed!’ Cos she’s always got cold feet and hands and I’m always warming her up. She was just looking after that heat and now I’ll take it back and put it to good use.”
Now you see why I want to be numb? Because if I was numb, or thick, I wouldn’t be sitting here contemplating how much I want to physically hold her and help her and love her some more. Or, if I was failing to comprehend she was dead or something then my mum would have stuck around to cook me dinner and she and my sister’d be huddled in the kitchen whispering about how I’m “not taking it in” and maybe I “need to speak to someone to come to terms”.
I’m a coper though, me. I’ve got it. Got it down. I know what’s happened.
What I don’t know, is what the absolute chuffing hell I’m meant to do now?