© Gerry Cambridge
Dead man’s beer
They were bundled in a bag for life in the garage, thirty yellow-black tins of Boddingtons like a nest of wasps, their presence stinging his widow. I got the job of retrieving and drinking them. It took me a week to work through the lot – insipid stuff and absolutely no hangovers. Felt like a sin-drinker, not eater, wishing the dead man had thirsted for stronger brews and lived to drink them himself.
after Donald Hall
Most diaries would have had it blank, that day. We woke together late, you fed the cat, I the birds then we made a simple breakfast together. You had a shower, I had my bath. We read, we worked from home, we went for a walk to see the new fish pass on the river. You cooked lunch, and I did dinner. You spoke Flemish online with family. I stuck to English on the phone with my mother. The cat sat on both of our laps. We went to bed together, both asleep within minutes. It was one of the best days of my life.
After Zaventem, security measures overflowed though with each extra army machine gun and baggage check we felt more insecure. It’s the odd, off-key things I remember about those red alert months when Goodbye suddenly became more than an automatism, how at Belgian airports, the flight companies hired marquees, tents, tables and chairs usually destined for weddings and parties to deal with the delayed droves. I saw then how we are married to this, having come of age in a time of hatred and mistrust where people are snuffed out as easy as cake candles but the problem remains, ever re-igniting like that one trick candle you can’t put out.