“I won’t be a minute”, he said, slamming the front door.
By 11pm she’d called the police, having exhausted all possibilities. They searched. Nothing.
His credit card untouched for the next four years before expiring.
They’d been so happy, she thought, but she’d never escape those (now) ambiguous last words.
She never thought she’d understand the notes; cried for months before trying. He’d bequeathed the apartment, funds, (even land), but 21 notes (handwrapped) remained unexplained. He’d loved her, she knew that. But here came emptiness. Years passed before she heard Vera Lynn sing the inimitable. And those notes rang out.
I knew he’d grown up when the questions stopped. He knew what all the words meant, where the dead went, why mummy left.
Then he left home too. No tears, just farewell.
So, I sit by the window asking myself – where did they both go? My family and the years.
Mario tampered with Paulo’s brakes. But Paulo had sold the van.
Bogden skidded downhill, smashing into a restaurant, killing five.
The restaurateur, depressed, drifted into the abyss. He leapt from a motorway bridge, landing on the windscreen of a moving car.
Mario swerved, broke, and exploded onto the central reservation.
He pinned Isaac to the cold floor, restraining him with wax-coated ropes, the boy’s mouth gagged with an old t-shirt to stop the screaming. He raised his sharpened peeling knife and prayed he’d forget that look in his boy’s horrified eyes. But God didn’t stop him – and he never forgot.
I didn’t ask about the scar at first. She was clearly self-conscious. Didn’t mention it at all as we grew closer and intimate.
One night, post-coital, I stroked it gently.
“Battle scar,” she said breaking ‘the silence’.
“What battle?” I asked.
“Love is a war.”
She curled into my arms.
They called him ‘Albatross’ because he brought bad luck. “You’re a stately sea-bird,” they lied. He didn’t know any better. One weekend, traveling to a match, the team bus crashed into a ravine. Albatross was the only survivor. As they pulled him from the wreckage, nobody noticed his chilling smile.
I misspent my youth learning truths that I spent adulthood realising were lies. Like a graduation of the mind, I am now free to believe/disbelieve anything I choose. So I choose nothing, and I choose everything. That’s the beauty of growing older – none of it makes any fucking sense.
The world’s first skyscraper was the 10-storey Chicago Home Insurance Building, 1885. A marvel of height and scale. The tallest building in the goddam world. The first man to jump off was Walt Lawrence, an insurance clerk. His future was untenable. Then skyscrapers sprang up everywhere; and the lonely would fall.