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 don’t like you…” he says and she is pummeled and pricked by honesty, rolling one hundred miles an hour back through their last year, re-evaluating every touch, every flicker of attraction, wondering how the hell she could have misinterpreted her instincts so badly and almost flees, “…I love you.”
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.
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.
I saw you last week. I passed a wine bar and there you were drinking on the pavement. Who was that man?
You looked well, I almost didn’t recognize you.
So I decided to find you.
If you’re reading this, then I already have.
Look behind you.
In the small dark hours of morning, an incongruous cold March wind whistling eerily through the vents, I forget about this project. I forget about fifty words. I remember the important things in life that matter more as you grow uncomfortably older.
Then daybreak comes and I remember to forget.
The last time I ever saw her, she was wrapped in a torn leather jacket, shivering as the ambulance took her. I didn’t know it was the last time.
They dredged our crumpled Dodge from the dark riverbed and found my powder white body inside.
I hope she loves again.
The war raged for two more years. Still, he never returned. She stopped waiting.
She married a decent man from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and had four beautiful children.
Twenty-five years charged by.
She was out walking when she saw him.
Third row, fifth section. He was at peace; now she could be.