The twenty-eighth story in my collection, When I Am Not Writing Poetry, your last taste of life at sea, is ‘Such Sweet Sorrow’. I have said before that it is easier – less painful – to leave than to be left, and others have written about how navy wives have two separate lives – and it just as they are getting used to being alone, to managing life – the house, perhaps the children – alone that their lives are rudely interrupted and all of their routines turned on their head. And then some weeks later, the reverse! But, that said, it is not easy leaving either.
It is today at breakfast. We sit as we have sat so many times before. In silence. An absolute silence except for the clink of a knife or spoon on china, the splash of tea falling into a cup, the occasional stirring of coals in the Rayburn. Today is as every other day, except that it is today, except that we know it is today.
And we remember.
The night had started early and we had slept together for the last time. I had been perhaps too keen, too assertive; she had been loving, but passive, sad. And then we had slept not quite in each other’s arms, not quite together.
Perhaps we were practising.
Today she will get into her car and drive to work. Today I shall get into my car and drive away.