Paperweight freedom

It was one of those glass spheres with the bubbles inside.  Green.   And I did it to free the air from the glass.  It had been in there at least forty six years and that’s enough.

I didn’t think about what would happen to the glass when it hit the stone fireplace.  I certainly didn’t mean it as an act of aggression.  I know, when the ambulance came and they were holding that pad on Graham’s neck and it was soaking through, again and again, they looked at me and thought it was.  They were quite concerned I’d try to hurt myself next, I think – telling me to move away from the glass pieces – sending me to sit on the hall chair.  But I wasn’t going to hurt myself.  I hadn’t meant to hurt anyone really.

It was a wedding present from Gwen and Steve.  Graham wasn’t impressed.  Graham liked all the electricals – the teas-made, radio, sandwich toaster.  They’re all long gone now, of course.  The glass thing, paperweight or whatever it was, that out-lasted them all.  Until this afternoon.

It’s too warm in here.  And they keep looking in at me.  I can hear cars driving by in the rain – that swishy, swishy sound.  I always liked that.  Maybe that’ll get me off to sleep in a minute.  I’m very tired.

The girls will be on their way, I suppose.  Well, Kelly will be, anyway.  Not Joanne.  Of course, not Joanne.  I wonder why I did that?  Why did I just imagine that Joanne would come?

I’ve always pictured her in the sunshine.  Graham wouldn’t have her talked about.  But sometimes, with Kelly, maybe at Christmas, I’d say,

‘What do you think, Kel?  On Bondi Beach, maybe?’

And she’d give my hand a little squeeze.

I didn’t hold it against Graham that he couldn’t talk about Joanne.  He always was one for keeping things to himself.  And he loved her.  He did love her.   He just couldn’t understand and he couldn’t bear to try.  I always understood.  That evening, when she got in from work, she was grey. Twenty two and grey in the face.  She hung her coat in the hall.  I’d done shepherd’s pie.  She went upstairs to take off her uniform – her blazer, skirt and blouse from the bank.  She hated them.  I knew she did.  And, in the morning, when I looked out of the kitchen window and saw them smouldering on the patio, I knew she’d gone.  My fearless one.  Out there.  Breathing.

I’d tell him now, Graham.  I would explain it all.  I’d open the window and shout it up into the sky.  If I could.


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