A Writer’s Notebook XI
‘That guy you used to be married to? What was his name?’
‘Carl?’ Sheila said.
‘Carl. Yeah. There’s a new woman at school; cleaner, used to know his sister. What happened to him?’
‘He’s in Warsaw. Dunno what he’s doing, whether he’s still with whatsherface.’
‘Warsaw. In Poland?’
‘Last I heard, yeah. He always did go in the wrong direction.’
Sheila had had a Christmas card from him, six, maybe seven years back. But nothing since. And before that it’d been ten years without a word. People would let things slip from time to time. He’d been in town a couple of days to see his dad. There was a rumour that she, his partner, was having an affair with someone else and he was going to throw her out. But that passed over, apparently.
‘D’you think about him?’
Sheila shook her head. ‘If you hadn’t brought him up just now, I could’ve gone for years without a flicker.’
And it was true. This man who had occupied the spaces of her heart and mind and filled the endless, moving panorama of her life, had moved aside. ‘What do they call those huge screens? Giant images, make you feel small?’
‘That’s it, yeah. When we were together he was like that. In your face all day long, all night. A giant movie screen. I thought I’d never get rid of him. And now he’s just an anecdote.’