So I guess I’m still alive, that’s the main thing. What is pain anyway? Surely no more than a state of mind – an internal reaction to an external action. I can handle this. I don’t have to say goodbye. You’re gone. Wiped. F*** off.
But you don’t see my tears as I unfold your note and read it once more. You don’t see me sliding down the wall until I’m small in the corner, the note crumpled in my hand, your words breaking my heart. You don’t see me shaking.
Words echo inside my head and shatter like glass. I hear only fragments. Your voice.
I’m moving on. Your words not mine.
I need some excitement. Is this thrilling enough for you? Why don’t you come and watch?
I suck in air like a man who wants to live and yet inside I want to switch it off, close my eyes, empty my veins. No – I won’t do that. Not because I’m strong but because I don’t have the guts.
We’ve had this discussion so many times, but you still haven’t changed. No, how can I? What were you expecting – a doll you could dress up and tell where to sit, how to stand and what to say.
I need a man with more ambition. So I don’t want to rule the world. Who are you? Who have I been living with all these years.
I stand up straight, not wanting to be beaten and my legs take me to the kitchen, where I lean on the counter and sob into my hands. Ambition? I only ever wanted to be the man who loved you. What’s wrong with that? Tell me . . . what the hell is wrong with that? I sweep my hand across the work surface, and swipe away a cluster of utensils that clatter to the floor.
‘What’s wrong Daddy?’ Her voice seems to come from nowhere. Oh God no . . . Sasha it’s okay . . . But I can’t speak.
‘Daddy what is it?’ She starts to cry and wraps her arms around my legs, squeezing tight. All I can do is hold her back.
‘It’s okay Hun. There’s nothing wrong.’
‘But you’re crying Daddy, I heard you from upstairs . . .’
I say nothing, but wrap my arms around her. Mummy’s gone, and Daddy won’t see her again. What more is there to say?
But there’s always tomorrow. We can start over tomorrow.
About the Author
Guy Cousins, lives in Kent and works in London as an environmental manager. He has studied writing at the London School of Journalism and has just completed his first novel – yet to be published.