I’d never have taken her that day had I known.
The way she’d smiled and waved as I turned the car on to her drive to collect her, like a small child bouncing with impatience before her first trip to the zoo.
My forehead against the window, I stare unseeing through the glass into the night. Breath shadows the vision beyond in pools of disappearing mist. Forty six floors up, the city lights sparkle a horizon below the vast sky.
The pain is unbearable and they will have to drag me away when the tower closes if they want me down. It is here that I feel close to her and never miss a week. Every Tuesday.
Silent tears now. How can I never be with her in this life of mine? Never see her face, her body, the way her hair fell around her shoulders, how the light caught her eyes. Never to smell her skin, that warm scent of faded perfume later in a day which we’d started wrapped together in sleep.
The horror that grips me daily squeezes my insides once again as I remember for the millionth time that we did not kiss in the lift on the journey up. We were saving the moment we both knew would come.
We had stood facing each other, hands held, alone in the lift, giggling. The ring nestled in a box in my pocket – the very same that she had shown me three years earlier on our first trip to Paris – the one I’d secretly bought while she sat patiently through her street sketch.
Sobs now. No-one understands the loss. My palms against the glass, cool and smooth to the touch.
We’d planned it for months. To sneak down to the level below the viewing gallery. I knew the metal steps, down which security or maintenance crew occasionally ventured….
‘Gonna have to ask you to make your way back down mate. Closing in five.’
A short piece of fiction inspired to show that you can write men in emotional character parts and it works – shit, I hope it did? Listen to this if you have time and read it again!
So, I finished The Time Traveller’s Wife (thank you Joseph Beech for the reminder that its pages existed).
How can a washing-up girl review a Michelin star chef?(You tell them how it made you feel.)
Not a page was turned without my emotions on high alert. The love story between Clare and Henry is always at the forefront of Audrey’s writing. While there are other characters, somehow their plots do not take anything away from the problem at hand. And, Lord oh Lord, what a massive fucking problem they are trying to overcome; Henry’s time-travel!
At times, I would flick back a page or two to remind myself what year we were in and potentially could have benefitted from a diagram. However, it always became obvious through the text and Clare’s world from the first page to the final page is dealt with chronologically. (Maybe there’s one chapter where that is not the case).
While Henry jumps back and forth and they ‘deal’ with whatever issues he is bringing with him from the past or future, I wondered at times whether the story could have been written chronologically for him too. But of course it couldn’t. The whole point of the book is to throw us off course which it does the reader – and Clare – so well.
The further into the book I read, the connections and recognition of scenes played out (which are an inevitable and necessary in a plot such as this) became increasingly moving and relevant.
The writing style is sublime. The pages are littered with original metaphors and similes which keeps it fresh. Nothing worse than a cliche!
I am delighted to have read this book and shall not forget its story.