There was no plan, just a need to make it all right again. Flora wanted her life back, fully. No matter what she’d been told about moving on, putting it behind her and all that tosh she knew with certainty that unless she found what had happened to him he would haunt her and own her forever.
The police denied scaling down the search for him, they said that they were still treating his disappearance as suspicious and so the case wouldn’t be closed. But she didn’t believe it. She had seen films, read books, the trail was cold and there were no new avenues opening up. They had, put his file back in the drawer. For a while she had called until in the end they asked her to stop. ‘we’ll be in touch if there is anything new. You don’t need to worry about it’. How could she not worry, it wasn’t their lives. They weren’t the ones who woke in the night listening for the sound of his breathing, they didn’t spend every trip to the shops peering into windows, scanning passing faces. She was convinced that they had moved on to newer things that they still had a chance of solving. She didn’t blame them, but it wasn’t going to work for her.
They had met through a mutual friend, dated a few times, and fallen into being a couple. There had been no flash of lightning, no sudden and overwhelming desire. It had grown slowly into a comfortable relationship and after a while they were Flora and Kevin, an entity. They had moved in together after six months and for a while it had worked. In hindsight she could see that it was laziness that had kept them together so long rather than passion and desire. They both worked hard, long hours but their lifestyles were compatible. She thought he was good looking, slender, with short brown hair and hazel eyes. Just her type, surely. They enjoyed each other’s company for the first year of the eventual three. They had sex which satisfied them. That was it, mediocre, lack lustre and dull. Marching along the dark street she allowed the truth free reign and acknowledged the mistakes.
But, everyone made mistakes it wasn’t supposed to ruin lives.
By the time he disappeared they had reached a stage where they were eating silent, boring meals together, staring at the television from separate chairs. They were two worn out with busy jobs and bogged with boredom to want to go anywhere in the evening and they dragged themselves to bed early, turning from each other in the darkness with not enough passion left in their relationship to spark a need for sex.
Weekends they would make more effort and it was easier when there were other people around, other voices, different laughter but so often once they were alone again the niggling and sniping would start. It didn’t often lead to full blown rows because neither of them had the energy or interest but now and then, if they’d drunk more than usual or the conversation had opened the rift a little wider then it escalated, as it had on the last night. After the earlier confrontations, they had made up with tearful, re-assertive sex and told themselves that it was how everyone was, pressures of modern life. But, for weeks before he vanished she had known that the arguments were too frequent and she was happier more often away from him, than with him. It was over and they were simply trudging towards the inevitable fork in the road.
The last night, she knew they had argued – again. They had both been drinking, it had surprised her though when she woke with the desperate hangover because she didn’t remember being so very drunk. She had woken in their shared bed, not the fold down bed in the guest room that she had been using for a couple of weeks with the excuse that his snoring kept her awake and it was a busy time at work. Tears of panic started to her eyes when she thought of it. She knew it would never leave her, no matter where life took her the images of that morning were seared into the deepest parts of her brain, she was branded with them. The smell of blood, the feel of it and the terrible dread and panic. Friends they had been with had said they hadn’t seemed particularly effected by alcohol. It had been a Sunday, work the next day, and so it had just been a few drinks, some food and from the bits she could remember friendly banter. On the way home he had accused her of flirting, she had always been able to remember that, it had spiralled out of control quickly and she knew that they had stood in the kitchen hurling insults, but after that there was nothing until the next morning and wakening into a nightmare.
She reached the junction, one way lead into town, the other out to the park on the hill. There were few cars about and no pedestrians. She glanced at her watch. Two thirty. The park would be deserted for hours yet. She turned right and walked down the slight incline. She would go to the centre. She still didn’t know what she was doing, how to make a start but from the bus station she could see his office. It had been a while since she had visited town on her own and each time she had taken a route that avoided the square and the building where he’d worked and today, she couldn’t understand why. There was no reason to be afraid of him, of his history. He hadn’t tried to harm her; he was the one who had disappeared. The way she had been treated afterwards had skewed her thinking, made him into part of the problem and he wasn’t, how could he be, he wasn’t even there. He’d had no hand in the accusations, the badgering and the suspicions. He was innocent of it all.
It only took fifteen minutes and she was outside the bus and train station. It was quiet but not deserted. She sat on a damp bench and glanced around. There were a couple of people stretched out on the other seats, they had bags, they may be stranded travellers, rough sleepers or drunks. She had no way of knowing. One of them could be Kevin.
Could one of them be Kevin?