I headed back to the car. Gone two a.m. I felt as if my internal clock had been overwound and dropped on the floor and kicked against a wall a few times. I wasn’t even sure what day it was. Only the Christmas lights shining in the houses parted by the M1 gave me any kind of clue as to where we all were.
I thought of wrapping presents on Christmas Eve with Rebecca and trying, and failing, every year to get her to do it in the nude. While wearing a Santa hat. I would always write a letter from Father Christmas to Sarah after I’d had a few Bristol Creams, disguising my handwriting best I could. You’ve been very good this year. You know that Mummy and Daddy love you very much. Maybe next year you can sit on Rudolph… I’ve been very busy, you know. And then I’d scarf the mince pie and toss back the glass of brandy and put the carrot back in the salad crisper.
I might have wrapped presents with you in the nude if you didn’t get so piss-pants drunk.
It’s Christmas Eve. What else are you supposed to do?
But that’s your excuse for everything. Christmas Day. New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day. The first daffodil of spring. Having a shave.
You’re being dramatic. And more than a bit unfair.
Just think on the number of times you could have spent truffle time with my magnificent norks. But you forwent that because you had your gob around a bottle neck.
That was then, Becs.
Yeah, well, I was then, too.
The wipers keeping beat to the sad song that always played. The rain. The splintering of all those red lights on wet tarmac. So much blood. There had been so much blood. The amount we carry in these fragile vessels. And it had all flowed so feverishly for me, as mine had for her, all those years ago. Now it felt like cold porridge in my veins. What was left of hers was soaked into the fibres of the floorboards on Lime Grove or turned to ash by the flames at the crematorium.
One thousand degrees Celsius.
You always said I was hot stuff.