I turned off my PC and collected up my files and folders,as I walked out of the lift I nodded to Jim the security guard and handed over my pass. He mumbled something that sounded like “Goodnight Mr James.” But I couldn’t be sure. I smiled and headed out through the side door, mainly because I don’t like revolving doors, they make me feel claustrophobic and mostly because it’s easier to walk to the bus stop from the side entrance. When I got home my cat Bung coiled around my legs, not because he likes me, he was just hungry. I emptied half a tin of tuna into his bowl and mixed the rest with mayonnaise and black pepper and threw it into a slice of bread. I kicked off my shoes and turned off my phone. I don’t think anyone at work, my Doctor, even my family knew how depressed I had become. I felt like a walking ghost, drifting through my days waiting for something, anything to change. I didn’t bother even turning on the TV.
I didn’t realise I was crying at first. That was when I knew.
I took a bottle of whiskey from the kitchen cupboard and shook out a handful of paracetamol. I thought of that old joke. “Why aren’t there any aspirin in the jungle?” As I washed down the first handful with a mouthful of Whiskey. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a coward. This wasn’t some cry for help. I just couldn’t, didn’t want to have to live with this pain anymore.
I first met Tom at a conference. We worked in similar roles and fell into an easy friendship, bored by the other delegates we left as soon as we could and hit a few pubs. We ate in a Chinese restaurant and ended up in a gay bar at 11. He kissed me about two minutes later. He had the bluest eyes I had ever seen. We laughed a lot that night. We drank and danced (badly) and talked and talked. Within a year we were living together and within eighteen months we bought a house together. He had no family and I just had my Aunt Claire, we had a great bunch of friends but to be honest we were just happy being together.
I took two more handfuls of pills.
It was late August, still hot but not as hot as it had been all Summer. We woke early in a tangle of arms and legs and started kissing and talking and making each other laugh. We made love and then lay together, silent. Eventually Tom rolled out of bed and as he pulled on some clothes he announced he was going to the corner shop for bacon. “Sundays should start with great sex and bacon sandwiches.”
The bottle of paracetamol is empty, so is the bottle of whiskey. Everything is hazy and I feel sick and sleepy.
I don’t know how long Tom was gone, I must have fallen asleep after he left, I only woke up when the phone rang and then grabbed some clothes and jumped into a taxi to get to the hospital. Tom had tried to cross the road against the lights and been hit by a car. I can’t really remember much about that day. At first they wouldn’t let me see him, I wasn’t a relative but I explained to a young Doctor as she played, nervously with her hair and let me through, she said over quietly that I should wait for the Consultant.
The rest is just bits of memory and distorted images. I signed some paperwork and they explained that Tom was dead.
Six months and you still feel like you just left the room. I keep waiting for you. Sometimes I dream you are lying next to me and I wake up and have to remember it all, all over again. Ten years, my love. We had ten years and it wasn’t enough. It may seem selfish or weak but I don’t care. Do you remember when we went camping at Gracefield? We lay on the sun warmed grass looking at the stars and you told me you would love me forever? I must be dreaming because I can feel you next to me and from the corner of my eye I think I can see you.