Still undecided on the title, but have cleaved one off at least.
Locked in the house tonight writing, though many interruptions of people looking for 3A. Pizza and clothes delivery, of which I’ve ordered neither, though it’s becoming tempting to a) stick sign on door: Not 3A b) just accept the inevitable (and the pizza)
This sort of thing has been happening:
Anyway, trying to cultivate more shape, more of the police bits and pieces.
Return to Me
‘A reward raises the profile, Ms Williamson. But it could jeopardise Muna’s safety. It’s a good idea to gather some advice before we get back to those who’ve pledged donations. But it’s a bit of a turnaround and a big ask, given the decision you’re making.’
‘Wait – just – how?’ My fingers span out. ‘How does a £2 million reward make things any more dangerous?’
The officer looks to David and David presses his chin onto the dining table. I remember thinking it was a curiously boyish thing to do.
We thank the benefactors and kindly turn them down. And a day later, we are squinting at microphones and into lights and questions.
They’ll call me poker-faced.
The car stops at a crossing on the way home. A woman in grey with blonde hair. I lean forward. ‘Isn’t -? ’ Niamh holds the weight of her belly, or maybe, as I used to, is just reminding herself of the future. She looks into our windows and I shrink, ashamed.
David looks at his knees. ‘She can’t see,’ he mumbles. The lights change.
Monday. Christmas hits and the world went out of sync with its own time again. In those first days that Muna was missing, I was reminded oddly of the sense of holiday, where time doesn’t follow regulation.
And our days had been given new habits and structures. The police had gradually drifted. David placed a plate before me. The bread was a little rigid. I could see it was a turkey sandwich.
‘Got it in the Tesco Extra when I went for the milk.’
‘They still out there?’
He peered at the closed curtains, as if that would help him see through the front room window. I suppose the question was rhetorical anyway. We kept forgetting to switch lights on and the dark had jellied around us.
His palm smoothed my hair at the crown. ‘Light?’
‘Uh-huh.’ I push up my glasses. I’d printed out all my mobile records, I’m searching blindly for a break in the patterns of all these circles and lines. The police had been digitally logging all the house phone calls. I almost don’t want to ask. ‘But could you do yours when you get chance?’
The smallest stutter in his movements. ‘Agh – damn. Damn bulb must be broken.’ He tries the far lamp, nothing, clicks the switch at the wall, but the stereo banks. It’s maybe just curiosity, why he does it. I hear the little wink as David presses play, a mechanical swish as the disc swirls, the parenthesis before. And then – the cool pooling of the piano solo, that small, murmuring query which would reach for and crash into the charging violin that destroyed all my doubts and where I finally let myself fell in love with a man I wasn’t supposed to have. All that muscled, supple beauty streaks into our house, congeals like fat around our current, interminable terror.
I clip the disc from the player and leave David to wonder, if he has the energy to. Upstairs, I secret the CD into one of Muna’s favourite books, Bear and Rabbit, smooth my skirt and fit myself at Muna’s tiny desk as David clinks about downstairs. In the light, I notice a footprint on her floor. Not ours, Muna’s, just the heel of her wellingtons. Her sneaky disregard for our rules. I remember the time David woke sobbing, or was it me, and I held him so tight to show how much I loved him. So tight I could have broken his neck. I rested my chin on the desk.
There will never be music in this house again.