Thursday, February 28, 2013

Play into the night

He never sent postcards or letters or tokens of his affections. Meredith said he was trying to protect her but she wanted more than ever to know she hadn't been abandoned. Max told her that Dan once hitched a ride in a tank and pretended to be a Belgian soldier at a checkpoint in Serbia. Everyone he met thought he was crazy and everyone had a story about him that probably wasn't true. She admitted, she probably didn't know him very well. She never had a chance.

As a young student she never had time for the whirlwind of romance so she was surprised when a dashing engineering student persisted in asking her out. He showed her how to make love in dark places. He showed her that love could be dangerous and exciting. And then he married her. She'd never known the end of a love affair before so it took her a long time to know when it was truly over and when she did she realised it was many years ago. "How can I get over it?" She drinks coffee in the boatshed with Max and talks about lost loves in exotic places. "It never really began."

They aren't leaving. They know that now. They tell themselves they'll leave but it's more than memories that keeps them here. "You know, when someone dies, no one expects you to get over it." He wipes cups and places them on top of the coffee machine. They stack in neat piles, just the way Dan left them. "But you do."

"Just like that?"

"I didn't say it was easy, but it happens. My father told me not a day goes by when he doesn't grieve my mother. "

"You should ask him about it," she says. "You should ask him what it means."

"You're right. I should."

Max puts on Dan's music and it plays into the night. She has lost and she is lost, but here in the boatshed with the music playing she is not crying, and she isn't sad. And she isn't alone. Max leans on the bench with hands around his elbows.
"It's always so quiet here," he says.
"And you think that if it gets too quiet you'll hear it."
"Hear what?"
"That voice in your head telling you you're alone."

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