Thursday, February 12, 2009


Her dad's at the airport. He's come to 'give me a lift'.

I just want to be alone, alone with my grief, but now I'm being escorted back to my own front door. He thinks he's helping, but he's not. He'll want to collect stuff, take her clothes. Rifle through drawers and collect old photos.

Can't I keep hold of them, even if it tears my fucking heart out, for just one night?

The funeral's on Friday. Her dad, looking very old and tired. "How was Colditz" he states. No answer expected. "OK if I smoke?" I ask as we leave the Gatwick parking bay. "No, I'd rather you didn't, if that's alright" he replies, in the same tone of voice.

I can't associate this man with her. He means nothing to me, and she meant everything. He never saw her laugh the way I did. Doesn't realise how I now feel about the flat. The funeral's on Friday. Do you want me to make a speech, I enquire. "No, we've got everything sorted," he mutters.

London in frost. The capital mourns. Her favourite Suede song strikes up in the radio in my head, and I try to suppress a sob. Block it out with shortwave static.

Right up to the door. He's going to want to come in, take her stuff away. Thinks he owns her fucking memory. Must be hard to lose a daughter, but I couldn't care less about his feelings. Same as he doesn't care about mine. Convinced I was never good enough for her. That'll mask any sympathy on his part.

Thirty eight hypocrites, flocking to a funeral. We make arrangements in the car.

"Shall I come in" he intones. Doesn't deserve a question mark.

"No, I'd rather you didn't, if that's alright," I shoot back.

And then I feel shame - I'm dismissing her father. What would she think? She'd hate it. He shuffles off. I pull out a tenner and call him back."I'm not a taxi service," he growls, drives off.

Running to the local supermarket. Buying a bottle of vodka. The shelves are full of Valentine's Day promotions. Pink fluffy bears. 'Sexy' chocolates. I've never felt so fucking alone in all my life.

The flat's in darkness. Maybe it's a wind-up. Maybe it's some practical joke. It is! She's alive! Why else would her dad pick me up? They're all in on it. I slam shut the door, race in. A firework's about to go off in my face. She'll be sitting there laughing. "How was Colditz?" I switch on the light. Oh God, she's not there. She's dead. I'm down on my knees, a fist in my throat. The smell hits me first, stale perfume like tear gas.

Chugging at the vodka. Now the shortwave static's getting really loud and I can't switch it off. Everything as she must have left it on Sunday morning. Her last day on Earth. Before she left me forever. Picture of her and her friends, doing vodka shots at the Xmas party, KILL IT, knock it to the floor. I feel like a burglar. This isn't 'the flat', it's hers and I'm violating it.

Stumbling through to the kitchen. Kitchen Devils in the drawer. I can't face the funeral, can't face next week, can't face any of it. "How was Colditz", I'm buried alive in it. One deep cut and I'm out of here. No, she'd hate that. She had a lust for life. Cared about animals. Oh God, why didn't I fucking care about the animals? Why couldn't I have made an effort just once?

Switching on the kitchen light, a blurred yellow haze through floods of tears. She ate here, had her breakfast, didn't realise it was her last, just wanted to eat something and I'd hate my baby to leave a hungry corpse, wonder what she ate, what she was thinking when she ate it, if she tasted it or ate it in a hurry, did she clean her teeth after, did she...

I need to find just one mug, one mug with a lipstick smear, please don't have washed up, not this time. Please, just one mug with your lipstick, even a few specks. I can't ever hold you again, can't even see your body at rest, not after what happened to it, lips all gone, I can't live without your lipstick smudge, stumble to the table, I need a dirty mug, just one mug, just for one last.. last...


...last kiss goodb-???

Martin, can you e-mail me at asap?

I edit features section and would like to talk about possibility of featuring some of your work for next editon, should you be ok with that.


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