Jojo Moyes is the #1 bestselling New York Times author of After You, Me Before You, The Horse Dancer, Paris for One and Other Stories, One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Silver Bay and The Ship of Brides. She lives in Essex, England, with her husband, and three children....READ MORE
I turned in my seat. Will’s face was in shadow and I couldn’t quite make it out. ‘Just hold on. Just for a minute.’ ‘Are you all right?’ I found my gaze dropping towards his chair, afraid some part of him was pinched, or trapped, that I had got something wrong. ‘I’m fine. I just . . . ’ I could see his pale collar, his dark suit jacket a contrast against it. ‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about . . . ’ He swallowed. Even in the half-dark it seemed effortful. ‘I just . . . want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’ I released the door handle. ‘Sure.’ I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.
Don’t you think it’s actually harder for you . . . to adapt, I mean? Because you’ve done all that stuff?’ ‘Are you asking me if I wish I'd never done it?’ ‘I’m just wondering if it would have been easier for you. If you’d led a smaller life. To live like this, I mean.’ ‘I will never, ever regret the things I've done. Because most days, if you’re stuck in one of these, all you have are the places n your memory that you can go to.’ He smiled. It was tight, as if it cost him. ‘So if you’re asking me would I rather be reminiscing about the view of the caste from the minimart, or that lovely row of shops down off the roundabout, then, no. My life was just fine, thanks.
I was so furious, you see, that all around me were things that could move and bend and grow and reproduce and my son - my vital, charismatic, beautiful boy - was just this thing. Immobile, wilted, bloodied, suffering. Their beauty seemed like an obscenity. I screamed and I screamed and I swore - words I didn't know I knew - until Steven came out and stood, his hand resting on my shoulder, waiting until he could be sure that I would be silent again. He didn't understnad, you see. He hadn't worked it out yet. That Will would try again. That our lives would be spent in a state of constant vigilance, waiting for the next time, waiting to see what horror he could inflict upon himself. We would have to see the world through his eyes - the potential poisons, the sharp objects, the inventiveness with which he could finish the job that damned motorcyclist had started. Our lives had to shrink to fit around the potential for that one act. And he had the advantage - he had nothing else to think about, you see ? Two weeks later, I told Will, "Yes". Of course I did. What else could I have done ?
They began to tune up, and suddenly the auditorium was filled with a single sound - the most alive, three-dimensional thing I had ever heard. It made the hairs on my skin stand up, my breath catch in my throat....I felt the music like a physical thing; it didn't just sit in my ears, it flowed through me, around me, made my senses vibrate. It made my skin prickle and my palms dampen...It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.
Just hold on. Just for a minute." "Are you all right ?" I found my gaze dropping towards his chair, afraid some part of him was pinched, or trapped, that I had got something wrong. "I'm fine. I just...I don't want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about...I just...want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more...