Cigarettes, oases of time by the box-crush machine. Killing quiet evenings playing staff-room-fashion-show. Driving round after the late shift, singing Fairytale of New York like Kirsty and Shane. Enjoying swearing at each other. Turning twenty, hoping all our dreams come true.
New decade: you move to an office. We fall out. Fight. Use every insult except those in the song. You try stand-up. Once. Then you say, due to work and the baby, you can’t carry on.
Early nineties, two in two years: nappies and puréed veggies. Watching their faces. Exploring. Discovering new things. Setting a Christmas tradition, I sing as Kirsty-like as possible. Turkey-aroma filled house. You peel the sprouts. I built my dreams around you.
December 2000: familiar auburn-framed face on the news. I ring you but you’re ringing me. Is it possible? Kirsty killed by a speedboat in Mexico? We play her songs constantly, making lists of those we’d rather were dead. This Christmas my voice breaks on rivers of gold.
The boys form a band. You provide garage, money and lifts. They attempt Fairytale, so bad you sing a comedy version but I’m pretending I’m Kirsty, waiting to come in on They’ve got cars big as bars.
Shane’s bar room interviews, surrounded by drinks. His ‘I wrote that song’, mutley-laugh and not-quite-there eyes. She’s dead and he’s half-dead. We laugh. Our boys, joining in, roll their eyes at our Happy Christmas your arse.
Holidays or after a night out: you bring up that time you tried stand up saying, by now, you could’ve been on TV. You could have been someone. I don’t mention I could’ve too: jewellery designer, rock climber, live in New York …
Well so could anyone.
A cold Christmas Eve: that song in all the shops. Don’t have the day together anymore. The boys have lunch with me. See you and her later.
This was our life. Our Christmas. Won’t see another one. While the turkey cooks, I don’t play that song.