Sunday, 18 October 2015
An extract from my book
They’d been so young once, and with this youth came their blistering naivety, and with their blistering naivety came their great invincibility: the great impossibility that one day this would all be over: that one day this precious, simple moment would be a precious piece of their entwined history that could never again be recreated. But of course, one day, this moment would be just that. For sixty years later, Ivy Carter had taken her last staggered breath as her palm lay limp on his, and Albert felt the kind of heartbreak that he never knew existed until he knew that he would never hold the love of his life in his arms again.
For so long he had carried this heartbreak with him like a badge of honour: as if to escape his pain, in its most raw and suffocating state, would be to lose all that he had left of her. It was stupid, he knew that, but somehow, he had lived the past three years of his life thinking only of his loss, and it was only now that he himself were dying, that he realised how much time he had wasted. The dawning of this new consciousness thrust itself upon him like an unruly, scantily clad stranger at a party: irritating and vaguely satisfying all at once.
'You see, Zoe, I've realised something,' he said tenderly. 'You can spend your whole life looking forward, only to wake up and see creased skin and tired eyes and terminal cancer and realise that looking forward doesn't hold its charm anymore. So suddenly, you look back, and christ, all those things you contemplated doing are the things you bloody wish you'd done.'
'Oh Albert, you really think I should do this, don't you?' Zoe groaned, 'you want me to be stupid and wreckless. You want me to lose all inhibition and just go with him, don't you? What if it's all a facade? What if he murders me?!'
'What if it isn't? What if he doesn't?' Albert winked, a playful smile teetering on the corners of his cracked lips, 'my point is Zo, is that love, or whatever else it might be- well it isn't really that complicated. We like to think it is, us humans: all poetic, especially you writer types. But it's simple. You light up when he's around. That's raw- it's rare- and it should be celebrated. Passionate, sleepy sex at silly o'clock in the morning and sunrise chasing at dawn. Go out there and give it a chance, my dear, give yourself a chance, I dare you. If he gives you that giddy smile, and better still, he's mad enough to actually feel the same way about you, in all of your fretting glory, then you take that. And you hold onto it.'
He paused, as if trawling through scattered thoughts, 'and you occasionally bribe him, with beer and bosom of course.'