Dear John

Does it mean I’m over it – over you – because I’m enjoying something?  (The answer to that is no.)

I didn’t go to the South of England Show this year, I didn’t feel up to it and it felt too soon, too frivolous.  But I’ve come to the Kent County Show, on the Friday so it’s not that busy – well, the traffic queue was bad but once you’re in, the tents aren’t too busy and there are actually places to SIT.

I always love the county shows, and you came with me sometimes, and enjoyed looking at all the animals and trying the different foods and looking round craft tents.

I remember you sampling free wine and buying bottles to take home, just before we left.  And I remember you looking at donkeys and lamas; and walking through the cattle buildings with you, looking at the various cows up close.

I think the last time we went to one together, you bought me a big expensive cowhide handbag – a spectacular present.

Well, of course it’s difficult walking round the Kent Show today without you, feeling so endlessly profound, forced to have all these thoughts about you having got off the funfair ride that is life, while I’m still on it.

The second most difficult thing is seeing all the country clothes stalls selling the type of big checked shirts I sometimes bought you.  But the most difficult thing is seeing ‘The Casablanca Steps’ again, as they represent a sort of personal tradition of ours.

They are a sort of old fashioned, funny band who always play at the shows – cheerful jazzy type pieces – and we’d often watched/listened to them together.  There’s one guy (the older guy who plays the trombone) who does a left to right movement with his hand in time to the music, like clicking his fingers, as a sort of gimmick.  We used to copy it.  It was like, if one of us mentioned going to a show, the other person would do the hand movement, like it was a jokey symbol or reminder of the Casablanca Steps.

I’ve seen the same guy do it today, and I nearly went up to him and said, when you do your hand movement, it’s so poignant to me, now that my husband has died; he’ll never see you do that again, but I’m still here, my life goes on.

Dearest John, it’s perfect ‘show weather’, sunny with a nice breeze.  I’ve watched the Red Arrows and stroked giant Shire horses, which brought a smile to my face, they were so beautiful, and watched a sheep judging competition where the sheep were so frequently and loudly vocal, it was funny.  (And sheep definitely say ‘M-e-e-e’, as in Polish, and not ‘B-a-a-a’, as in English!)  What used to be the Antique tent is now in a huge permanent building – so many stalls, you would have loved it!

I’m sitting here eating a donut, watching cows going in for milking, and feeling so confused.  Because I feel sad and happy at the same time.

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