It’s been hard. His life is almost over now, but mine has been over since he got the diagnosis. I can’t do it anymore. ‘Come on, love,’ I say, ‘let’s get you wrapped up; we’re going for a drive.’
I tighten his scarf, put a blanket over his lap and tuck him in tight. All these little things I do for him that he never remembers. I thought I could cope, and when I couldn’t cope I thought I’d just get used to it. But none of those things have happened. He hasn’t known me for the last two years. Everyday I’m a stranger. It’s not fair on either of us. I wipe a tear from my cheek and cringe at the lines under my fingers. I don’t remember getting them, it’s like one day nothing, and then they were there.
I push his chair into the back of the car and drive to our favourite place. ‘Where are you taking me,’ he says.
‘Nearly there, love.’
We always loved it at the top of this hill. There’s a bench near the edge that looks out to sea. We used to sit here and listen to the waves crashing against the rocks below. He points at the bench as though he’s remembering something, but it will be gone again in a moment. This is where it all started, our first date, our first kiss, where he proposed and where it will end. The wind tries to steal his scarf; I tuck it into his coat. He shivers.
‘Home,’ he says.
‘Not yet, love.’
I push his chair toward the bench but this time I don’t sit, I walk straight past until his chair rests on the brink. I wipe away another tear, ‘I love you,’ I whisper as I push him over the edge.
Liam wasn’t sure how it had come to this. One minute he was hosting a meeting with his colleagues, the next he had his hands around Andy’s throat. It took precisely one second for him to vacate his chair, punch Andy to the floor and pin him down. Everyone agreed that this was unusual behaviour for Liam, he was always so calm.
Of course he regretted it as soon as he did it, but he needed that money. He looked at his colleagues pleadingly, hoping they would step in and stop this lunacy but they just sat there, jaws hanging, staring. Liam tried to move his hands but it was as though they were stuck with glue. Any longer, Andy would be dead; he’d be a murderer, and then what? But Andy’s knee collided with Liam’s privates knocking him back and rolling onto the floor holding his crown jewels.
Andy stood and straightened his tie, ‘what the hell’s wrong with you?’ he said, ‘I’m calling the police.’ He stormed out of the room.
What was wrong with him? He knew he’d over-reacted, but desperate times call for desperate measures, before he could stop himself he shouted, ‘if I see you again, I’ll kill you.’
He pulled himself up and swiped his hand across his forehead and looked up to find a whole audience had entered the room while he’d been possessed. And then another thought crossed his mind; witnesses. ‘Fuck,’ is all he said.
The crowd parted as his director approached. ‘It’s probably best if you go home.’
Liam took a slow walk of shame out of the door. The cold air hit him like a slap in the face. He felt the first drops of rain that would soon be a storm. He lifted his head to the sky and thought about what had just happened, the news there would be no bonus, the fight, the witnesses. Would Andy call the police? A worse thought crossed his mind; he had to tell his wife that the money was gone.
He made his way home.