They say that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I’m not sure I agree.
It wasn’t raining on the day my life fell apart. It was actually quite a nice Summer day and I was considering taking a walk that afternoon.They say you can tell when something bad happens to a loved one. I was feeling a little unwell, but that wasn’t unusual. In fact the nausea may have been a projection once I’d found out what a terrible day it really was.
The sun was smiling at me through the windows and the slight breeze seemed to snicker as it wove through the opening. I chopped the vegetables for dinner and threw them into the slow cooker, coating them in oil and a layer of rice. Two presenters babbled away almost inaudibly from the retro blue radio I’d been bought as a wedding gift. I didn’t really like to listen, the nonsense they spouted got on my nerves, but I liked looking at it. James would turn it up when he got back and dance around the kitchen with me balancing on his toes.
Pictures of us smiled from every surface. A mural to our first meeting stood beside the radio: the two of us laughing , frozen in time and trapped inside a photo frame. I wore a sequined skirt and t-shirt that was tied up to reveal a generous amount of untanned flesh at my waist. He wore a flannel shirt and skinnies. He’d waxed his hair to perfection but forgotten to shave, so that tiny forgotten hairs sprouted covertly from his chin. We’d both had quite a lot to drink at this stage and as frequently happens with inebriated people, it had quite slipped our minds that we’d only met an hour ago.
It was Win’s idea. She’s framed in our collection of photos on the wall by the TV. All of our friends in different sized squares sitting on the wall to be admired. It’s a bit strange if you think about it too much, but I think she’s pleased to be there. I’d known her since school and she’d taken me out with her work friends after a particularly dull week to ‘blow off some steam’. I’d done that. I’d also met the love of my life. Win had spent the night making out with various strangers until she found someone who was ‘skilled enough’ to warrant taking home.
I was interrupted from my reverie by the rude bleeping of my phone. Mum. She rang almost every day to ask if my life was married bliss. We’d only been back from the honeymoon for a week and already she wanted to visit, to intrude on our peace and bring noise into our home. Mum’s honoured with a small frame on the windowsill. It’s right above the radiator so she’ll never get cold, I think she’d like a bigger space in our house. She’s smiling in the photo, standing with her arms around two small children with pigtails. They’d be matching if one didn’t have glasses and the other a grin that revealed teeth which didn’t fit into her mouth. I’m the one with the big teeth.
I balanced the phone between my shoulder and ear while I poured boiling water into a mug and added instant coffee and a splash of sugar. We may have been able to afford to decorate our flat with a vast array of photographs, but ‘posh coffee’ as James called it, was out of the question. We lived on a healthy (and cheap) diet of mainly vegetables, snacking on nuts and porridge with honey for breakfast. We ate the same things. We’d taken a cooking class last year and a huge canvas of us proudly flaunting our creations hung on the wall in the kitchen. I’d been intending to call James at lunch time but mum had stolen the opportunity. I didn’t think about it at the time. I was too busy telling mum about a new photo that we’d be framing in about 8 months.