If Ever I Fall Book Tour – Extract
Dan stood at the lounge window of his crappy flat and watched the snow overwhelm the communal garden. It was coming down thick and fast: a torrent of fat flakes racing each other to the ground.
Getting into the office tomorrow – deadline day, of course – would be a nightmare, although better from here in the suburbs than it would have been from out at the house. Then, once he got to work, he’d have to squeeze in all those weather-related stories: the sledging snaps; the inevitable school closures; the traffic chaos.
Perfect weather for Valentine’s Day. How romantic for all those lovebirds, he thought, envious of their happiness. There was a time, long ago, when he and Maria used to be like that: a happy young couple out on a date to celebrate Valentine’s. He could even remember the two of them walking home through falling snow one year, early on in their relationship, arm in arm and stuffed with expensive restaurant food.
Back then, they had been utterly content in each other’s company. It made Dan’s head hurt to think how great they used to be together. It gave him hope that they could still fix things, while also frustrating the hell out of him that they’d drifted so far apart. Once upon a time people used to call them the perfect couple. With hindsight, Dan could see why: they’d had that magic combination of being in love as well as best friends. They’d enjoyed a lot of the same books, films, pubs, clubs and restaurants. They’d largely liked and disliked the same people – and realised they didn’t need or want a big social group, since they were both happiest when it was just the two of them. And when their views had differed, such as on the topic of religion, each had respected the other’s opinion rather than trying to change it.
That was a million miles away from where they’d ended up. And whether it was snowing or not, Dan knew for sure that neither of them would ever again view Valentine’s Day the way they once had.
February the fourteenth was Sam’s birthday. Everything else paled into insignificance. She should have been turning sixteen. They should have been celebrating her milestone as a family. Instead, she was gone.
Absent again on her special day. Frozen in time. Fourteen forever, like the date.
Dan walked over to the coffee table and poured himself another drink from the open bottle of vodka. He’d not even bothered to replace the lid. What was the point? He’d be drinking it all tonight. And whatever else it took.
The pain was always there. It never left him. But days like this tore at the wound; they poked and prodded at it, allowing no respite.
He’d barely done a thing at work. Even Maurice hadn’t been able to keep up with all his cigarette breaks. Several people had asked if he was all right, sensing that something was wrong; he’d said he was fine, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. And then at 2 p.m., unable to bear it any more, he’d left for a fictional hospital appointment.
It was 6.30 p.m. now. He’d been drinking for four hours: first in a quiet corner of a local pub and then, once the after-work crowd arrived, he’d returned here. Not home. He couldn’t bring himself to call it that. He still held out hope that he’d be able to reconcile with Maria and move back to his real home. He had to believe that was possible for the sake of his own sanity.
If only Maria was on the same page. Last week she’d flown off the handle because he’d not found time to call in and fix a leaking tap in the downstairs bathroom.
You can buy If Ever I Fall from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.