Friday, January 25, 2008


I thought I would always remember this, but over time it has become blurred. Even then I rewrote the ending, the true one being so – what? Painfully bland? Poignant? Typical? Confused. It's true that I was lashing out like an injured animal at the end, but I was acting instinctively, out of reaction to my pain. If a bear walking through a forest finds her leg shattered, veins ripped open, flesh severed from bone by a hunters vice, do you blame the bear, the hunter or the vice?

For the Director's Cut I took a memory of you leaving another time, an innocuous time. I think you were traveling somewhere for work. I remember that the plane had to be held up as you ran through the terminal. It makes me smile to think of all the people delayed just so that I could have an orgasm. Anyway, that time was just goodbye, not Goodbye. You looked so good in your Fedora and RAF coat. I was so proud to be your lover, but I always knew you'd break my heart. When I first met one of your friends she took me aside and said “If you hurt him, I'll kill you.” Corny, but true. I smiled wryly and said “That boy will break my heart.” She cocked an eyebrow, disbelieving, but I turned out to be the prophet.

I can still see you now, profiled in the square glass window at the top of my front door, silhouetted in mid-turn. I was wearing my Japanese dressing-gown that you had given me. When I heard the oak door thunk behind you I went into the front room and waited for a long minute before you reappeared, framed in the large window. You didn't know that I was watching you, but my eyes never left you for a second until you turned the corner.

So that is my ending, I imagine those last kisses and caresses, you holding me in your arms and kissing the top of my head. Then I replay the scene of your leaving, your profile in the hall, your back retreating down the road. Off to war, I tell myself, that's why there was no proper end, we were ripped apart in the spring of our love. But there was no war. Our costumes were pure film noir, but this is the new millennium. The RAF coat and Japanese dressing-gown were charity shop finds.

I thought that I would always remember the true end: you non-responsive, me crying, picking up my weekend bag, stumbling down the hill towards the station, barely breathing, just a pulsating mass of nerves, raw with emotion. There was more, there were words, friends, drinks, cigarettes, but the memory is grainy. I prefer my ending anyway, no blame on either side, no divvying up the score of hurts caused and hurts gained. Just love in the afternoon, goodbye, and off to war. Love was the battle, and I lost.

Lisa Payne

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