‘I’m going to keep on talking to you until you listen, that’s right there is no ignoring me you are going to have to eventually answer back’. I was talking to you as I wondered the flat, soaking up all the memories that took me back so many years. I could smell you everywhere, in the linen on the bed, in the clothes laid out neatly over the chair and in the air I breathed in deeply. ‘Are you listening to me?’ I called out to you as I looked at the photo of us by the bedside. It was taken many years ago and faded from the sunlight that steamed in through the window, even today. The smiles were still there, in that black and white photo and reminded again me of the fun we had that day. We always had fun, whatever the situation at some point we always found the funny side of it. When you do eventually decide to start talking to me I will ask you if you recall the day in Cambridge. If you remember the day when stupidly I pointed out the Waterstone’s bookshop and told you I thought they would have some very good books in there. Not many people would have got the madness of that, my connecting visiting a university town with the stock of its bookshop, certainly not the people who gave us strange looks and stepped around us as we sat huddled on the pavement outside the store unable to move through our laughter and tears.
The silence was broken with a crash from the kitchen, what had you done this time. I walked into the empty room to see a cup on the floor and broken in half. The cat looking down from the dresser with an indignant look that told me the cup had been in the wrong place. I picked up the pieces and called out that I was sorry for assuming it was you. Where are you, the flat is not that big, what are you doing. I wonder if you are watching me and I just can’t see you, are you smiling. I finish the washing up, putting your cup where you like it by the polished kettle, I’m sure you wouldn’t have minded me using it. I look around the room to make sure everything is in its place and the table is clear of crumbs before heading down the hall. I put on my coat, hanging next to yours in the hallway and linger looking at my reflection in the mirror, I look beyond myself at the room behind me, everything is as it should be, except for you. As I pick up the key from the tray by the door I try one more time. ‘I hope you are in more of a talkative mood when I get back’ I call after me ‘please try’.
I leave the light on for you as I close the door and head off down the street. The evening is drawing in and the children look like they are heading home. I pull my coat closer and hope that the medium on the church platform will have more luck with you tonight.