Valentine’s day


I’m in the van & I’m late & I’m already proper narked off cos Roz has given me what for & yeah I know its valentine’s day & all that, but like I said to her as we both stomped around each other doing that early morning stuff
“when you’ve been married for 23 years, why bother?”
And then there’s a pause, and I really want to fill it, so I just keep talking and it sounds ok in my head, but somehow, it doesn’t come across like I want it to
“Tell you what love, you go choose something nice, treat yourself, and use the business credit card”
And the moment I said it I knew I was for the high jump, she did the pause thing she does and I thought – ok here we go – but nothing, she just turned away, picked up her car keys & she’s out the door and I’m left stood standing there, cuppa in hand and I dunno, just a feeling that this time I’ve really upset her .
But like I said, I’m running late & I’ve got a new job on the other side of town & I need to get over there, get the lads started, cos I know full well if I’m not there then its bacon cobs, radio 1 & messing on their phones till I get there to shake their sorry asses into gear.
So, there I am, white van man and I light the first fag of the day and it’s all good & I’m just starting to lose the feeling that I’ve done a bad thing at home when the traffic just stops, nothing moving, all 3 lanes gridlocked,  it’s come from no-where & all around me you can see people’s heads come up, shoulders tense, windows open .
But me, I light another fag, turn on radio 4 – I may be a man in a white van but I’m not stupid and start looking around  – I like watching people in their cars – it’s like they forget that  everyone can see them – so they go about their business, putting on makeup, on their phones, inspecting their noses & I’m just watching & then I see her – don’t know why I haven’t noticed her before – given that her 4×4 is beside me –but something makes me look to the side & there’s this woman & she’s crying and I mean really really crying, her head’s down on the steering wheel and she’s sobbing, shoulders shaking – the whole works & I know  I shouldn’t, but I just can’t stop  looking – its like something  out of those foreign films that Roz likes – so she weeps  and I watch and the traffic is going nowhere & it’s like we’re in this bubble thing & cos its Valentine’s  day, I can hear some stupid soppy tune from a car up the way a bit and somehow  that makes it even more like being  in some stupid chick kind of film.
And I don’t know why, but I really want her to look up , I want to see her face and then it’s like she feels my gaze , she looks up & she looks directly at me & it’s not pretty at all, its nothing like the movies – her face is all red & puffy and there’s make up all down her face and we just stare at each other for a moment & then she runs her hands through her hair & wipes her nose on her sleeve & kind of shakes herself like a dog and puts her head back on the steering wheel.
And I can’t stop looking at her – I’ve never seen anyone cry like this – well not in public anyway & she doesn’t seem to care – she must know I’m looking at her but she just doesn’t stop sobbing and I really want to know why and I’m almost out of the van to tap on her window, to ask what’s going on – but I get a grip – cos I’m turning into some kind of madman here & then – thank you Jesus – the traffic starts moving and the mud covered 4×4 & the sobbing woman are out of my life.
And then I flash back to Rozs’  face this morning and I suddenly see that she wasn’t angry, not really, she was crying & I’ve got this horrible picture on her in our car weeping in front of a stranger and you know what it proper shakes me up & next thing I know, I’m off the main road  & I’m heading for her work & somehow I’m driving like a proper nutter & I touch my face & it’s wet .
I just need to get to her, to try & make this better.
Cos I reckon, one sobbing woman on Valentines’ day is enough for anybody.

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