Sunday, 16 December 2012

Hell Is Round The Corner

(Hell Is Round The Corner - Tricky)

He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, sang along to the song in his head. The learner car in front of him leapt forward a foot, stalled. Andrew smiled, lifted a hand to say no problem, in case the poor sod took a look in the rear view mirror. All been there once, Andrew thought. Traffic came across from the right again, so he relaxed, stole a quick look in the back of the car. The flowers looked fine, despite sitting round in his office for half the day. She would love them, and she would love them even more because there was no reason for them, other than the fact that they’d been together for nearly four years, and she still made him get shivers inside.

The learner finally made it out, and Andrew followed, keeping a distance, not crowding them. He knew that Sarah had a stuffy head from her cold, she’d texted him to say so, so he wasn’t taking her out that night. But he’d booked a table for the Friday, guessing she would be ok by then. She never let these things linger. When they got to the restaurant and were sat with a menu he knew she’d make that can-we-really-afford-this face, and that’s when he’d tell her about the promotion, and he’d watch what her face did next. He’d watch because he knew what the real meaning of it was for them.

The promotion was about more than just money: it meant that they weren’t reliant on two salaries to pay the bills, and that meant it wouldn’t matter if she took a couple of years off work, and that meant…

He turned off the main road, cutting through the side streets. She’d still be on her way back from work now, and if he moved it he would get home first, get home in time to run her a bath, pour her a glass of wine, make sure things were tidy. She wasn’t well, and did a lot, so it was his turn to look after her.

The winter sun was low and the clouds were edged with a fierce and beautiful orange, and Andrew laughed out loud in the car just because he wanted to. He indicated left, turned onto the , and then the boy ran out from between two parked cars and just had time to turn his head to look directly at Andrew before the car hit him, and he went up in the air and then crashed down on it and then bounced off it and then hit one of the parked cars and bounced off that and back onto the bonnet of Andrew’s car and then off and under the wheels just as it came to a stop with Andrew’s foot pressed so hard on the brake he’d later find out he had torn his Achilles, and Andrew’s hands gripping the steering wheel so tight it left red rings on his palm, and Andrew staring out of the window, seeing the boy’s face, and knowing that nothing would be quite the same again.

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