Intervention

Charlie read somewhere that dancing helps. You are depleted of chemicals he says, all of your happiness has been cried right out. But I think he’s got his science wrong. It’s crying that gets me through the night, it expels what I’ve shored up all through the day. I concede to the wake because they are only trying their best. And it will be a relief to let go, if only for a few hours.

It is the mid-week 80’s tribute night, the boys have carefully chosen our destination. There is nothing of you to be found in the synthesizers, in the jangling pop, in the men dancing up on each other under spinning balls and flashing lights. I feel a reluctant flicker, a sense of return and though I want to say it’s too soon I know I have to stay.

We order tequila as Tom heads for the bathroom. Charlie tells the barman her boyfriend just died and it makes me giggle, the sudden, appalled look on his face.

It’s okay, Charlie continues loudly across the bar as I take my shot and throw it back, It’s okay because her boyfriend was actually a total cunt!

And then I’m laughing for real, He was, I splutter, he actually was and the barman watches in horror as the laugh morphs so quickly to a hysterical cry, standing here in this neon bar, with the first strains of Flashdance twanging behind me.

Charlie doesn’t flinch, he just hands me another shot – There you go, darlin’ and I love him more for letting me cry, for understanding how to do this. I throw the tequila back between ragged breaths and the sharpness of the liquid disorients my sadness, it burns in my throat and the shock tips me back into laughing just like that.

Tom returns from the bathroom as I start to hiccup, and Charlie puts his arm around me. Honey – he pulls Tom into our circle as my shoulders heave, as I laugh and cry at once, now we got ourselves a wake.

**

They stagger me home at 2am. I threw up three times at the bar. We danced until I couldn’t stand and I kissed a beautiful looking boy who seemed as though he liked it. The solace of another mouth. It has more than once brought me back. I never was as faithful with my body as you were, Mack.

(Another snippit of Maggie’s story … I still love her the most).

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