We argued over socks. He swore and I sulked. It was over soon. It’s rare these days, generally we live peaceably with each other. A good marriage. A happy marriage. Just over-tired. They always say that don’t they, about children? We were being children then, weren’t we? It’s OK to be so every once and awhile. And the socks? They turned out to be just lovely. Thank you very much.
I have to make lists. Lists of thoughts, experiences, conversations. I write them on post-it notes when I get in from my walk, having chanted them to myself all the way home. Lest I forget. His office used to be covered in post-it notes. Telephone numbers, book references and things to do. Guaranteed that once written down they’d be forgotten. Guaranteed.
I want to remember, to preserve those little snapshots of something like life. The weather for instance. It dominates here. Always has. Wind, rain and sun. The wind the other day. Gusts of seventy miles off the sea. I couldn’t help laughing. Stop giggling, he said. We clung to each other. It pounded us. You feel winded. Literally. Three of the iron railings were uprooted. Just as if they were pot plants. Wrenched from the ground. And yesterday the rain, it was as if someone was just hurling buckets of water at our windows. You can understand our ancestors seeing strong weather as retribution from the gods. The glass rattled in its panes.
There was a hand-written sign in Merlin’s Cobblers and Key Cutting Shop. Closed today, it read, personal issue.
He is often there at his window smoking. It is still dark. I walk towards him, a little frustrated at feeling obliged to break my reverie. We talk about the weather, my walk. I wish him a good morning. It is 4.30 am and he is yet to go to bed. I like him though. There is intelligence, a wryness.
Two identical looking girls stand under a lamppost talking. It’s so much better living with someone, one of them is saying, much better than when I was alone.
A man is banging the flat of his palm against the glass-fronted door of the Ty Hafan Guest House. It is not yet 4.00 am. I find a pound on the ground, later there is a ten pence piece. A figure walks towards me out of the dark. I am safe in my defenceless, I whisper to myself. He walks on, coatless, the leather soles of his shoes sharp against the tarmac. The smell of baking bread from Slater’s Bakery comforts me. It still escapes even though the door is shut. A man is running down South Marine Terrace. He too is coatless, just a t-shirt. By the castle I see a girl. She is barefoot. I shine my torch on the ground, she scurries off. The wind is not so strong in town though The Angel sign creaks and swings.
From a distance I thought they were fairy lights. Coming closer I saw that they were the tricolour. The Belle Vue Hotel lit up red, blue and white. Nice touch. Solidarity. An elegant, restrained gesture.
I watch from the upstairs window as a cat leaps through a window.
It was unsatisfactory as a ending. I kept going over and over it in my mind. Would he have stayed? Really? Was it his child? Did he really sleep with her, after knowing that she was a murderer? I don’t know. Folk are strange. And marriage is compromise. The devil you know and all that. But it just makes you care less. That’s all. Should I read the book? I don’t think so. No empathy. Gone girl. Going, going. Gone.
I sent them off, into the ether. I don’t know. Are they good enough? Who knows. It would be nice but it is just ego stuff that. Mostly it is about sending them out, letting them loose to be something else. And that’s good isn’t it?
He gets back into the car and tells me that he’d just heard a man in Starbucks asking for a roll of toilet paper for the Gents. It’s rather urgent, the man had said to the blonde barista. It doesn’t bear thinking about, the girl had said to him as the man scumbled off loo roll in his hand. I like her, he said, she makes me laugh.
On the TV in the gym a woman in a tartan dress is talking about the Foundation for Peace. Prevention is better, she is saying, though I can only read the subtitles, the sound is muted. Prevention is what we are about. Yes. Amen to that.
I saw the moon yesterday. It has been a while. We are moving into the dark. Advent. I remember the Abbey lit up at the final moment, everyone holding their candle aloft as the great doors opened. I cried, from grief, relief and trepidation. Not now. Not now. My life is warmer now.