There’s things in the attic, fifteen years old, twenty, or more, cobweb-tangled, dirt-roughened, dust-smeared, never-forgotten. There’s things in the attic which mean nothing to anyone but me. There’s things in the attic, rising above it all.
You, you’re there. Your breath, your spores, droplets of vapour crystallised, hanging in the air untouched, unbreathed since you last clumped up the ladder with a torch in your hand and a cancer in your gut.
There’s you in the photos, piled in a bag, placed in a heap by the dead wasps’ nest. There’s you in the wedding suit decomposing in its plastic tomb and in the winkle pickers whose gleam is sheathed in dust. In the books which made you laugh so much, so silent now they are. The shirt you wore that day, which came back in a bag as though I could do anything with it but hide it up here, in the corner, in the dark place, the place I don’t know, the place I never go.
Ah, but there’s laughter in the rafters, too. The echo of every moment of happiness in this, our house, is captured here forever, insulating us from the world, reminding us of who we are and what we’ve achieved and why you mean so much. Memories, nestling beside the artefacts of our life.
Somewhere in the grainy-gloom haze there’s a train set you built for Tommy that Tommy hardly got to use because you were the station master, the train driver, the porter, passengers, all at once. You even made the sound effects. Choo-choo, Choo-choo! It used to smell so nice, that train set, like oil, but sweeter, fresher, just like you, just like your hands when you touched me in bed, when you kissed me goodnight.
I wish you could kiss me goodnight tonight, my last time in this old house. One day you will again, in a better place, and that makes me happy. Until then I’ll close my eyes, remember, remember such good times and let the magic of love conjure you into my thoughts once more.
Goodnight, my sweet.
Writer - Tom Conoboy
Tom Conoboy is Scottish but now lives in England, where he works in local government. Over the years he has vacillated between playing the guitar and writing stories. Somewhat late in life he realised he was least bad at writing, and since the middle of 2005 he has been writing and submitting seriously.
Del Boccio United States
"Poignant and poetic with wonderful rhythm and imagery. Thank you."
"Sentimental, moving, poignant, real. Thank you Tom. Keep up the guitar too, you may find yourself penning and playing lyrics!"
"Excuse the pun, but a very moving story.