Kim, today was a really shitty day. I felt like crap when I woke up. Even though I'd been in bed for a full eight hours, I felt like I'd slept for about two. I know I slept because I remember waking up a whole heap of times through the night but I don't feel rested. I feel like I spent the whole night running, like I was trying to get away from something but I don't know what it was. Maybe it was everything. I was just trying to get away but I couldn't, not really.
I don't feel sad or scared the way I did when you died. I don't feel anything and that's kind of worse in a way. At least when I'm sad or scared or angry or whatever I know what I'm dealing with. All this, right now, it's a mystery and I don't know what to do with it. I don't know what will make it better. I mean, I'm pissed off about how things went with that job and how Hugh's sort of alright about it all and Jamie just goes along with him, but I don't really have any actual emotions about it.
I remember when we first got together, your parents were so pissed off about it because you were so smart and they were rich and you were going to have a real life. They thought I was poor and stupid. And I was poor, I still am compared to them, but I was never stupid. I might not have been clever like how you were clever, but I wasn't stupid. I wasn't and I'm not. When they told you it was them or me, I know they expected you to choose them, but you didn't. You chose me. You walked away from that big house and all their money and everything they could give you and you moved in with me, in my tiny wee flat with the charity shop furniture and the knackered carpet and the window in the bedroom that never closed right.
They thought you'd drop out of university and end up uneducated scum with no ambition like me, but you didn't. You stuck with it cause you were amazing. You got your student loan and we had my pay from the coffee shop and from the jobs with Hugh, and the rent was cheap and we muddled through together. We ate like shit most of the time and never put the heating on, but all I could think was this beautiful, clever, sweet, funny person loved me enough to choose me over all the things money could buy. When I was feeling down, I remembered that and it made me feel better. Even after you died, it didn't stop being true. And they were wrong about me having no ambition. My ambition was to have enough, to get by and to be happy and loved and to love you. And you know what? I already had all that back then.
Today's been like walking around inside a big grey raincloud. Everything's been fuzzy and far away, like I know it's all there but I can't really see it or hear it or touch it cause the cloud's too thick and I can't reach out through it enough. It's scaring me a bit cause I remember when things got bad for you, this is how it started. You seemed really far away and quiet and you'd just stare at the wall for ages like you weren't really there. Except you cried a lot too and you kept saying how much you hated yourself. I keep thinking back to when I begged you to go to the doctor cause I knew you weren't OK and I thought he'd be able to help you. You didn't want to go but I kept on and on at you until you went. Then all he said was you were stressed about your exams and under a lot of pressure, especially cause you'd moved out of your parents' house, and that you just needed to look after yourself better.
I knew it was more than that. I knew it but you just went with what the doctor said and kept saying you were alright, that if you hadn't been alright the doctor would've noticed and he would've done something. You felt stupid for making a fuss and it broke me cause you never made a fuss. When things were bad, you got all silent and still and sometimes it was like the light went out of your eyes. I had to keep reminding you to eat and you still didn't, so I'd go to the shop and get you nice food for a treat and bring it to you. I think you only ate it because you didn't want me to worry and cause you knew I'd got it specially for you cause we never usually had stuff like that to eat. You were always so lovely like that. Even when you felt like shit you cared about me not worrying.
I didn't really get it back then, but I put my watch on last week and it had gotten really big on my wrist. I didn't think wrists really changed size much even when a person lost weight but I guess they do a bit. Hugh took one of the metal links out of the strap so it fit better and said I needed a proper feed. I hadn't even noticed I wasn't eating much and now I think that's maybe the way it was with you. It wasn't that you were not eating on purpose. You just didn't think about it or you didn't care cause it didn't feel important. I used to laugh at the idea that people could forget to eat, but I guess that's what I've been doing.
My head's all over the place. I keep going backwards and forwards, remembering things I'd thought I'd forgotten. Not even important things, just little bits like when I got up this morning it was cold so I put on my slippers and I remembered you used to have these slippers that were like big furry monster feet. I'd got them for you for Christmas and the first time you put them on you laughed at them for a full ten minutes. There we were, sitting next to our wee fake tree with hot water bottles and blankets, drinking some vinegary cinnamon shite that was meant to be mulled wine. I gave you those slippers and you gave me this watch. You said your grandad in Korea left it to you when he died and you'd never worn it but you thought I'd like it so you'd had a bit taken out of the strap to make it smaller. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever given me. It still is. Even though there's only about half the strap left now.
This morning, when I thought about those slippers and you wearing them, I felt really tiny inside my own head, like I was looking out through my eyes but they were a million miles away. Sort of like in that movie where the guy shrinks himself so he can go inside someone's body in a spaceship-looking thing and fix something. Except I didn't have a spaceship and I didn't know how to fix anything. I still don't.
The thing is, I'm not massively unhappy with my life apart from you not being in it. I still go to work in the coffee shop and I like it, I really do. I know people look down on jobs like that cause they're not as important as jobs like you would have had, but I like talking to everyone and hearing all their stories while I'm making their coffee and sandwiches. Going out on jobs with Hugh was good too, especially after Jamie started with us and was freaking out about everything all the time. I shouldn't laugh at him but he's really funny, trying to be a grown up but also still kind of being a little kid. I should probably feel guilty about all the stealing and stuff, but I don't. We're only stealing off rich people and they have their things insured. Once it's over, there's no real harm done. I mean, there is harm in that we've stolen their stuff but no-one gets hurt, no-one dies. We get the stuff and drop it with whoever Hugh's made arrangements with, the rich people claim on their insurance and replace everything or get some money for it, and in the grand scheme of things none of it matters anyway. I pay my rent to Jackie, buy some food and some green, hang out with Hugh and all them at the weekends and it's good.
All this shit with the drugs too, I don't even know where I'm at with that. I can see Hugh's points, all of them, about why it's worth doing but I also can't get past the feeling that it's not for me. I think I just need a change of scenery, somewhere else to be. There's part of me that feels like if I leave here, I'd be leaving you. It's stupid cause you already left but in a way you're still here, in this flat, this street. Wherever I went I'd take you with me cause I have all my memories of you and I'll never leave them behind, but moving away feels like a big thing to do. I know Jackie would get someone else for the flat no problem but I still feel bad thinking about going. I don't know how Hugh would handle it. I feel like I'd be letting him down.
Can you want to be somewhere else without completely hating the place you are now? Is that how it was for you? You said you loved me and you wanted to be with me in our wee home forever, but you must have still wanted to die as well or you wouldn't have done what you did. I don't want to die and I don't want to go on holiday or go traveling like all the rich students you knew at uni do. I think I want to leave properly, just go and be somewhere else and see what happens. I think I maybe should go and work at the hotel in Urcladach with Morag. It seemed like this nice thing I could imagine but I couldn't really do it. Except maybe I could. I don't know.Right now I just want to get out of this cloud and this shitty day. I miss you.
YOU ARE READING
Stone Flowers Grow in Cold PlacesSpiritual
When a robbery takes an unexpected turn, part-time criminal Andie Valentine is forced to make a difficult choice: dive deeper into a dangerous but lucrative world or escape to a new beginning, abandoning her home in Edinburgh and her last connection...