Dear John

When you were in hospital I bought myself the two presents we had agreed you would buy me this year – at least as the ‘official’ presents that you could give me publicly, ie when we visited my mother.

They were sort of traditional, safe presents.  The Wildlife Photographer of the Year book, which you always bought me, because I often went to see the exhibition at the Natural History Museum, and a perfume which I was going to specify myself.

Well, I thought I might be able to show them to you in hospital afterwards when you were recovering, as a bit of a joke – ‘Do you want to see all the presents you bought me for Christmas?’

I’ve looked through the photography book carefully, and the perfume (‘Tresor’) I will definitely use – I mustn’t be overly sentimental and throw it out.  I can think, ‘This is the perfume John would have bought me for Christmas’.

I bought you a 2015 diary, because there were moments of hope during that dreadful time, and I’d imagined you opening it in hospital and realising it was a message to say, ‘You have a future’.  So it was supposed to be a wonderful, positive, poignant present that said, ‘You’re getting better’.

It’s gone in the bin now.

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