EMPTINESS

Dear John

I’ve just been and stood and looked at a hotel we stayed at last Easter.  The Imperial at Torquay, with views over the bay.

It was sunny when we arrived and we sat outside and looked at the view.  I think we ate sandwiches and you drank beer.

Inside it had lots of yachty photos which you enjoyed looking at.

And a nice big breakfast room where we sat together and enjoyed the view of the sea.

I just somehow have to come to terms with the circumstances, John.  That I’ve seen that hotel again, but you never will.

That you’ve had your lot, your days are over.

This morning I walked on another beach, and was overwhelmed with the emptiness of world without you.  I hope you realised, while you were alive, how much you meant to me.  So much that without you in it, without you beside me, everything feels so empty and meaningless and desolate.

There was a steam train and I couldn’t bear to look at it or listen to it because you would have liked it so much.

It’s one of the ones we never got round to going on.

There were people on the beach, playing with dogs, and I was so sorry that they weren’t you, that you couldn’t have had that pleasure.

We should’ve stepped back from things, John.  We should have left London and had a nice quiet life of retirement by the sea.

If we had done that, John, if you had had some time to relax and be retired, maybe it wouldn’t feel so bad.

So many bungalows, so many people living quiet and peaceful lives together.

You’ve missed what might have been the best ten or twenty years of your life.  The quietest and calmest, maybe, the most relaxed.

So I sat on a bench and thought about emptiness.  Thought about how I’ve always had you with me, to share life’s experiences, to appreciate the world.

Two people sitting on a bench appreciating a view feels like an end in itself, a worthwhile occupation.

Sitting on a bench with you gone is only pain and emptiness.

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