A part of me wonders why she still lives in our original family home. It isn’t a question of money; the mortgage was paid off over six years ago. It’s just- it must hold so many memories for her. She cannot heal here. Violet pours herself a large glass of wine and cries. I watch her for hours, I can’t leave. Believe me I want to, but someone is making me stay. It’s like a force. I give in and sit at the opposite end of her sofa. Mum sits there, with her legs tucked underneath her. I don’t think she knows what to do. I shuffle closer to her and lean forwards. She dumps the glass down and proceeds to pace the carpet.
“How could you do this?”
I examine the bottle of wine, with the expectation of what’s in her glass, she’s drunk the whole thing. This is the first and only time I’ve ever seen her drunk, I’m shocked! “Hell, Jude! Why did you go and kill yourself?!” She yells. “Why? Didn’t you think about the people who’d have to pick up the pieces…your pieces!” Violet picks up the picture of me on the coffee table and slams it face down. The glass smashes.
“Shit!” She grasps it again, and examines the long, horizontal crack along the glass. The picture was taken quite a while ago, because I looked happy then. Perhaps I was faking it? Something I was very good at: spreading my mouth into a wide smile, and kidding everyone that I was fine. She sighs and puts it back in the correct place. She’s hurting inside and badly, just like I did. I don’t want to watch this anymore, so I leave.
I don’t need to sleep. I pace the streets and decide where to go next, but I don’t have a choice. My head starts to spin, I sit down on some unknown doorstep and my vision blurs. When I’m aware of my surroundings again, I find myself at an unfamiliar house. Well, the outside is. On going indoors, I realise that this is Grace’s home. Poor Grace, I wonder how she is?
She’s sleeping, wrapped in the security of her boyfriend Henry’s arms. I’m jealous, really jealous actually. I wish that someone could have cared for me like that. Grace probably has a great life, she has a lovely house. He strokes her arm, and she stirs.
“Can I talk to you?” He whispers.
“Okay, umm. I’m going to be blunt, how well did you know Jude Reed?”
“What do you mean, Henry?”
Oh no! I know what he is implying. Grace and I were complete acquaintances, I mean we’d say a polite ‘hello’ if we ever bumped into each other or make small talk about the weather. That was it.
“Babe, I didn’t know him. Not really. Ummm, I mean we might see one another once in a blue moon, and it really was.”
“Oh, I see.” He doesn’t sound impressed.
“Why are you questioning me?”
“I- I wasn’t. Look, I’m sorry.”
“Hmm.” Grace narrows her eyes. “You should know something…”
“He wouldn’t have been interested, even if I did fancy him.”
“What? He was gay?!”
“What makes you so sure?”
“He had a partner.”
“Wait! How do you know so much about Jude Reed’s personal life?”
Honestly, I’m thinking the exact same thing.
“You know when you just know?”
“He wasn’t camp at all!” He sighs. “Who was his partner?”
“I dunno, they were a nice looking couple, though.”
“Were they now?”
“Yep. Don’t know if they were still together…”
“Go to sleep now.”
“Do you honestly think that he killed himself?”
“Babe, I don’t know. It’s what the police seem to think.”
“It’s kind of sad.”
“Very.” Grace is tearing up again. “It-it makes me want to make the most of my life. I love you so much, Henry.” She kisses him, pressing her damp cheek against his. “Thank you for being supportive and understanding, I love you. Goodnight.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014