As I’m packing away my things, I find the engagement ring I bought. Suddenly I’m flooded with the plan, how I was going to take you to the bridge that overlooked the harbour, when the time was right. The many nights I spent lying next to you, working out what to say, what would be perfect, heart brimming over at the thought of our forever. The time was never right, and now all I have is this ring. I put it back in place, at the bottom of the box, in a tangle of earrings and necklaces.
A crack appears on the surface. I am beset upon by a thousand angry eyes and faces. I have to hide, and so I do. It is shameful. I can’t tell if I am awake or dreaming. I plead for mercy, but your mother, she says I have broken her heart. When I hear that, I know I don’t deserve forgiveness. I sink deep into the floor, seep through the beams that hold this house together, and trickle through.
Coffee with your mother at the table. She smiles, I smile, but we are speaking through a fog. Your father is behind us, adjusting the paintings on the wall carefully. I see lines that jump from one painting to the next, the thread of an untold story, and there and then I understand so much. What unfolds, for a moment, is beautiful. A ramshackle home made of twigs, buttons and shoelace. Crystal clarity. I smile, she smiles, he smiles.
Sunshine, and the feelings of hope that come with spring. The ramshackle park bench where we sat. Your friends engaged in a polite conversation, but the words that fall from their lips don’t have any meaning. I listen attentively, making effort to find familiar syllables. Trying hard to fit in, I bite into the cake, but it turns to oil in my mouth. I gag there are the table, while the faces and voices around me spin. Nobody notices, at least not for now.