She was, I suppose is, my best friend.
She left home last week. She moved to the city.
Our last night together she made me bring over all my art books and she put on The Smiths and we listened to the music and we went through the art together. My favorite was a picture of Icarus (see pic) her favorite was a Van Gogh but I am not going to tell you which one because that is my special memory and I feel it would make it worth less if I shared it. (not worthless but of less worth).
We were in her room and she told me all the things she would do in the city, she was so excited. She would be studying art and going to the theatre and working part time in a place that sends out a lot of internet orders and she would be in the office doing the paper work.
She asked me if I would come and see her, I will of course, but I don’t know when. I said I would send her a copy of my novel when it comes out next week. (I haven’t any hard copies yet) and I told her I would come up and see King Lear at the theatre in December with her.
She cried a little and put on an old Neil Young album called Harvest and we sat in the dark and spoke about life and literature.
“I think I’ll pack it in and buy a pick up, take it down to LA…”
The next day I came early and helped her to the train station. We sat on the platform and waited and it was a grey dark day. The clouds came rushing over like a tempest being born. We sat side by side, looking out at the birds in the farms nearby. The track was long and cold, we spoke little but there was a peace over us. Her bag beside me, separating our legs. I looked down at her poor little knees, she wore a yellow dress and a denim jacket.
“How do I look?” she asked.
“I mean for my first day in the city?”
“Good, you’ll fit right in.”
“I hope I fit in, but I hope I stay myself you know?”
“I know,” I answered but I didn’t know. “You’ll have a great experience. You’ll be seeing everything for the first time, with fresh eyes. Use it in your art.”
“I want to. I can’t wait to meet all the artists. The school I am going to is really good.”
The train came around the corner and we watched it roll in. It’s blue engine pulling quietly down the track.
“This is it,” I said.
“It is.” she hugged me, and she was warm and soft. I felt so sad.
“I have something for you,” I said. I gave her a copy of The Great Gatsby.
“Thank you,” she said. I liked her, she never overdid anything. You could give her something or say something to her and she didn’t get all mushy or fake about it.
When she climbed on I saw her only one more time out the window as she waved to me over the top of some old women. I waved back and watched the train pull away and disappear down the long straight line. She was gone and I was alone and the wind, as if knowing I was alone blew cold and the first drops of rain began to fall, I hurried home.
She called me that night, her first night in the city.
“I can access the roof and I can see right over the city,” she said. “It is a beautiful view, but I can’t see the stars.”
“No,” I said.
“I hate not seeing the stars.”
“How is the apartment.”
“It’s okay, it’s small but at least I have it to myself. There are so many people on this floor. The art school is only just down the street so I can walk there easy.”
“Be careful if you walk about at night,”
“I will be. I miss you.”
“I miss you,” I said.
My debut novel The Bomber comes out 24th of June. Have a look at it in the links on my page.
I can’t wait to send my friend a copy.