Back. After months of anxious searching, raised hopes and panicked losses, I’m back. How many months has it been? Living under a superstitious spell that buttoned my lips and stilled my fingers?
So much change, I can’t keep track. My livingroom now filled with boxes. My cupboards gradually emptying.
In two weeks, Rosie and I leave our old home behind. Yesterday, contracts were exchanged, at once sealing the deal and setting my fingers free to roam over this backlit keyboard once again.
As Ben and I rummage through our common archive, sorting it into separate piles, loss fills the room in gusts. In these intervening weeks, Ben has kept me sane, quietly acquiring boxes from Tesco’s and clearing out the loft in shifts. His generosity and friendship keep me focused, convince me that this is possible. If I don’t think too hard, I can almost – almost – forget how much we have both lost.
But it’s all around me. The mis-matched cutlery we brought with us from our postgraduate days. Photographs from youthful adventures in Kenya and Cornwall. A mug he bought me for my birthday, which I keep despite its broken handle. Old Christmas and birthday cards, with messages that grow more and more distant with each year.
What we cannot believe is the mass of it. The solid mass of our shared history, shoved into the loft and into drawers, now dissected, discarded.
And in amongst the accumulated ruins, I find this song, unopened. Unheard, until the moment before I throw it away.
And then keep it.