Well I've been studious today!
So here's another...thing...from my ridiculous brain. Bit of a sad one this time, I'm afraid.
The song that inspired it is a favorite of me and my mum and I don't own it. Sophie Ellis-Bextor does!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it! Please leave me a little review if you can spare the time!
And with each step,
I will forget,
All of those memories of you.
She comes in and runs crying up the stairs before you've barely had a chance to register her and for a moment you simply stand, alone in the kitchen, looking out into the hall and to the oak banister where her fingers had been only minutes before.
With trepidation you climb the stairs, quietly and you can hear her sobbing.
It breaks your heart.
Tenderly, you knock.
You open the door, slowly, gently, and through pink beaded curtains you see her curled up on her bed, her body wracked with sobs.
"Andrea, darling can I come in? Do you want to speak to me?"
For a moment, she stills. Looks up. Sits up. A forlorn and precarious smile is shared between the two of you but before long she's off again, crying hard into her hands as she tries desperately to stifle her sobs.
You cross the room in a flash. Sitting on the bed next to her, you pull her into your arms and she curls into you. You rock her, gently and as you run your hands through shiny brunette curls you take yourself back to when she was a mere infant. You always found it therapeutic to soothe her. Still do. Though you are the last person anyone had expected to be maternal. Eventually, your presence seems to calm her and she shudders into silence, still breathing erratically.
"Tell me what happened, darling."
"There was a boy…at school."
She shouldn't be worrying about that sort of thing. She's only just fourteen. You are especially protective of her. Not that you really have a leg to stand on. But the two of you are close. She knows you weren't the most well-adjusted adolescent. She knows it's best to talk to you about these things, rather than her father. She knows about your past.
"I really liked him. I thought he liked me too."
"And what happened?"
Well. She knows most things about your past.
She bursts into floods of tears again, burying her face in your blouse and shaking uncontrollably.
She must have really liked him.
"He was amazing, Mum. He was funny and clever and kind…he was my best friend!"
"It's not the end of the world, angel."
You give a wistful sigh and look to the window. The streetlamps are coming on and it has just turned seven. You have never taken well to this time of year. It is when you miss home, the heat of South Africa the most. You don't like when the nights close in. No warm sunsets, no evening sun to bask in. It gives you too much time…to think.
"I can assure you, it's not."
It's not often that she looks at you like this; hatred oozing from all pores and venom in her eyes. She is not the average teenager. Never one to slam doors, or smoke, or run away from home. She couldn't be less like you were.
But yet, the two of you are the same.
"What would you know about it? You and Dad are perfect."
You could really take her to town on that one. Her father and yourself are far from perfect. You restrain from telling her about the time he disappeared for three solid weeks after finding out you were pregnant, or about that time he started emailing a very pretty work colleague, or that time you nearly filed for divorce because you felt like a complete stranger to him. She doesn't need to know all that.
"It's happened to me too, you know."
Her tear filled eyes soften at this and she looks at you in shock. The pain you're feeling is immeasurable, and you're not sure why. It's not like it's the first time you've talked about it. Some people, your husband included, just had a right to know. It was your past. It made you who you are. Perhaps the heartache is so intense because right now, in front of you, you see – not only your heartbroken daughter of fourteen years – but yourself; shattered and devastated. When the unthinkable had happened.
"His name was Harry."
"How old were you?"
You knew him. You knew he felt it. You knew he didn't want to do it. To abandon you like that. He didn't want to be like all the others. But that's why you couldn't understand why he did it. He marched around the office, picking up his things and stiffing them into a backpack. Tearing every little piece of himself from your life. He was stony faced, but the strain in his neck had told you he was holding back.
You knew him.
You followed him around the office like a lost and frightened child. Screaming, clawing, anything to get him to pay you some craved attention. You fully expected him to turn right around and scream at you to stop, or smack you right in the face to bat you away. Your friendship had always been volatile. But he doesn't. And that's what scared you. He acted as if you weren't even there.
"Please Harry! I don't understand! What's going on?! Please tell me what's going on?!"
You could hear the desperation in your own voice, feel the tears making their way from your torn heart, all the way up to your eyes and you had chased him, frantically trying to get him to look at you. Part of you knows now why he didn't. You would have seen how much he didn't want to go.
You knew him.
As he put on his blazer and marched towards the door, you had seized your chance and as he passed you, you grabbed his hands and gazing imploringly into his eyes, you had put his hands on you, gave yourself to him, willing it to be enough. Only then had he look directly into your eyes, and hope was ignited when you saw him falter. It lasted a mere moment, that magical, electric second between the two of you. You have never felt anything like the heat you felt in that moment before...or since.
He leaves you cold as he pulls his hands away, emotionless, and leaves through the glass doors.
The last time you ever saw him.
You sunk to the floor and in front of your boss, your colleagues, your assistants, your subordinates – who had stood in a row outside Leo's office throughout the entire performance – you wept. Hard, bitter, angry, confused tears. The tears of an unfulfilled dream. An unfulfilled life. The rest of the team had stood in silence until then, then they moved forward to pick you up, make you tea, dab your eyes. It was as if he had asked them to be there, to pick up the pieces after he had left. And oh how many shattered pieces there were.
"Did you ever find out why? Why he left?"
Yes. Yes, you did. On the night before your wedding, during a slightly intoxicated conversation with Leo, he had told you. He had told you that the gang that murdered Anna Sandour were on the loose and had found out where he was. He had left to protect you. Under no circumstance would he allow them to hurt you. The grief this had awoken in you had almost been enough to make you call off the wedding. Almost. Until Leo had reminded you that now Harry Cunningham would only ever be a distant memory. Untouchable. Unreachable. The way he wanted it.
"No. He just went."
It wasn't long after the trauma of him leaving you crying in the office that you had decided to leave pathology for your first passion; anthropology. Leo hadn't even tried to fight for you. He knew it was too painful to stay.
If you were to have any chance at moving on at all, you would have to do the same as Harry.
Cut all ties.
And everything, every little thing about the Thomas Lyell Centre reminded you of him. Each time you sat at a desk, any desk, you remembered. That irresistible flirtatious banter between you. The coffee run, reminded you that you didn't need to order a black with one sugar specifically anymore. The locker room smelled of him for months after, you're sure of it, and those bright yellow scrubs remained, barely worn, at the back of the store.
You missed most of all, the dynamics between the two of you. He made you feel alive, gave you a purpose, but when you found Leo staring at you non-plussed in the middle of a post-mortem and realised that you had just attempted to flirt with him, you decided enough was enough.
You found yourself back in your twenties. Surrounded by withering old men and haggard old women who had either left their office jobs during an end- of- life crisis or had been 'bone finding' all their days. You became comatose. In those brief moments where life flooded your veins again – when you fantasised about him coming home, to find you, to rescue you from your mundane life – you found yourself missing feeling feminine. He treated you as an equal, but also as a woman. He made you feel desirable, beautiful, sexy, just by the way he looked at you. Your hunger for that feeling almost consumes your grief for him.
"I know, sweetie."
"How did you get through it?"
One almost always finds a way through things such as these. Not finding something to distract a tormented mind would mean certain death, surely. You found something, you know she will too. You're glad you did, though at the time you would have done anything to cling to his memory, even fight off new ones. But this saved you, and you see no point in lying to her.
It had been a great love of yours as a child in South Africa and with no social life, slowly withering on the vine; you had decided to give it another go.
The twists, the turns, the flow, everything about it was intoxicating. You went to every kind of dance class there was. With each individual style, you discovered a lost element of yourself that he had stolen. With each twirl the tear flow a little less easy. You even tried pole-dancing. It became one of your favourites. Apparently, you were surprisingly good at it. You liked the way it made you feel; liberated, wanted. You liked the way men stared at you and as you twirled you would look into their eyes and wonder what stories they held behind them.
The Tango. Another favourite. You craved the close proximity to another human being. Being held close to someone, feeling their warmth. Having eyes to connect with.
"And Harry was a doctor, like you were?"
"Is he still a doctor? We should look him up on facebook! Was he good looking?"
You crease your eyes, picturing his face, remembering.
"Do you love him?"
You raise a sceptical eyebrow at you daughter, but she looks genuinely interested and intrigued.
"I love Dad."
He had started tango lessons the same week as you.
Who would have known who he would become to you. Confidant. Lover. Husband. Father of your children.
Two left feet, bless him.
He was very handsome, nevertheless, the sort of man one would look at twice, maybe even three times, as he passed you in the street. Slender, clean shaven, thick, red hair, green, twinkling eyes and a killer smile. He had danced with you that first night and despite standing on your toes countless times, he had never taken his eyes from you, a look of genuine passion gracing his features.
He owned a health food shop.
A dried fruit seller, none the less.
With an obvious fetish for shrivelled produce, you mused as he began to pursue you.
It had taken a while. Coffee, lunch, dancing. Dinner, drinks, more dancing. He was persistent and as he finally got the hang of the first half of the dance, you found yourself in love with him.
"I know, but what about Harry?"
You think of him now, as he was back then, fifteen years ago.
You don't feel anything but fondness.
No anger or hatred or guilt. You know what he did and why, and you've done with your life what he would have wanted. What he would have wanted for you.
"You can't have a connection with someone like that and then for it just to dissipate. Of course I still care about him."
"What if you were to see him again?"
It won't happen. Ever. You know him, and you know he won't allow it to happen. He wouldn't hurt you like that, wouldn't wish to disrupt your equilibrium like that. He wouldn't put you in danger like that.
"I would be happy to see him."
"How can you be so…cool about it!"
You give a short laugh at her bewilderment, running a hand through her hair and down to cup her chin.
"It'll come in time, darling. You'll find there's something very liberating in just…letting go."
As you watch her, lovingly, the peace is disturbed by your son, Elliot, playing loud music in the neighbouring room, it booms through the walls and it hits you like an arrow through the heart.
It has been a long time since you have had the opportunity to assess your emotions, feelings. Nothing in your life has been easy, but you have now found yourself in a situation where you feel the strangest of sensations. There is no worry, no anguish. Your sentiments are no longer taught like the washing line on a stormy day, but are relaxed, free. It is much like a feeling you remember from long, long ago; running helplessly across a sandy beach in your homeland, breathless from laughter as the hot sand warmed your feet and your father chased you, laughing too. Not a cloud in the sky, nothing to obstruct the sun, beating like a drum right into your heart. Your soul.
You are happy.
Without warning, you take your daughter by the hand and pull her up, from her bed, hold her in your arms and begin to dance. Your eyes lock intently and it isn't long before her smirk cracks into loud laughter under your serious gaze as you both sway and stumble over each other. You laugh with her.
There is something very liberating about letting go.
Her taunts about finding Harry worry you very little. You know already that he will be nowhere to be found. As far as you are concerned, he left the Lyell Centre and went up in smoke. Vanished. Gone. Forever. You know without shadow of a doubt that you will never see, or hear from him again. And there is nothing you can do about that.
And so you dance.