Chapter XII

Encores over, the concert finished. We entered the concourse and weaved through the milling crowds. We broke momentarily and in an instant Sarah was gone. I turned 360 degrees but she had vanished into the throng. I rang her, but the network was busy. I reckoned the best way to retrieve her would be to stay put. After what seemed like an age she emerged from the dissipating fans carrying something.
‘Where did you go?
“I got you a present. If we ever go to another show you’re not wearing that tatty thing
She held out her hand. She had bought me a brand new tour t shirt. And she got one for herself too.
After a quick visit to the ladies she emerged as Britain’s newest fan.
We emerged into the crepuscular sky different people. I have never held onto someone’s hand so tightly, guiding her through the crowds, glaring at any idiot who stepped into her path. She was now mine, no one was going to take her away. We got into the car and waited for the traffic to clear. It didn’t matter.
We kissed – over forties inappropriate snog alert! But it was appropriate. It was the most appropriate thing ever.
The drive home was muted, it was like the coach ride back to the airport after a holiday romance. Reality rushed in through the windows like a neap tide. We arrived at her car. It was time to say goodbye.
“My mum’s with the kids so she will be expecting me back.
“Ok where did you say you’d been?
“Oh just out with a friend
“Well you didn’t lie then
“I did
“Why? Am I not your friend?
“Of course, but I don’t want you as a friend. I want…
Her voice trailed off. One last kiss and she was gone. I drove home alone. We texted each other until late. I fell asleep listening to Our Song on repeat.

I wanna build me a house, on higher ground
I wanna find me a world, where love’s the only sound
High above this road, filled with shadow and doubt
I want to shoulder my load, and figure it all out
With Leah

I walk this road, with a hammer and a fiery lantern
With this hand I’ve built, and with this I’ve burned
I wanna live in the same house, beneath the same roof
Sleep in the same bed, search for the same proof
As Leah

I got somethin’ in my heart, I been waitin’ to give
I got a life I wanna start, one I been waitin’ to live
No more waitin’, tonight I feel the light I say the prayer
I open the door, I climb the stairs…

I woke up on Saturday morning to 9 missed calls. Sarah’s bloody keen I thought. Then I looked at the call list. My kids and the ex. And the texts were not the ones I had been used to.
“Tom. I’ve got 2 kids here waiting for you. Hello?!”

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