Now where were we? Talking about Oyster card holders? ‘Course not…
Amy turns and in sync with the second shot we link gazes. Tom had been threatening suicide for months and he knew where the guns were. “Stay here” is all I can say, I have nothing more to offer and set back out into the dark looking for Tom.
Reaching the glass-fronted room of my dwelling where I assumed he would have gravitated to (there’s alcohol in there) I peer through the window and gaze upon a dark figure sat in the grandest of leather seats. I can’t make him out but it’s obviously him and he’s moving, a little.
As I enter there are grunts and shuffles but no words. As I approach I find he is fully awake, to my relief and surprise, and looking directly at me - more fixating the whites of his eyes to mine than the pupils. The seriousness in his face drops my mood to meet his and I reassess.
His left hand is holding a wine glass, full to the brim but there are bottles around so I’m guessing that’s not the first.
His right is slinking down the far side and out of view but I get the impression he is gripping something there too. More wine? Let’s sit.
I pull up a chair directly opposite, less than 10 feet from him to allow my eyes the slightest hope of making him out in the dark gloom of the unlit room. The room, annexing the kitchen but with no tables fit for feasting, was lit solely by the reflection of streetlight glow bouncing between pane windows and pictureframes.
We talked, he laughed, all was well. He explained he shot outside randomly, no reason, but one shot had entered the kitchen wall and he’d sort that in the morning.
More laughs and I believe I’m turning this round, even starting to feel proud until I let my guard down and mention the fight earlier that evening. A 2 second pause which seems to span a butterflies lifetime, a shuffle, and a raise of the right arm. The gun.
I’d love to run off the model and make like a CSI parody but it was long thing and brown – a gun. He rested it across his body and regaled the time he watched a man shoot himself. Not pretty apparently and he bluntly tells me to leave to avoid the same.
Confused given the dynamic – A rock solid 28 year old former professional bareknuckle fighting gypsy, topped with red wine and anger, vs me, a ro… normal kinda chump, he repeated himself, as did I. Two more rounds of shoot-me don’t-shoot-me tennis and he paused again this time ending with the slow arc of the gun, pivoting from the but like a crane raising tower blocks, towards me.
“You have until that clock reaches 02:00”, spinning his eyes in their sockets with far more power than was required.
Still holding his gaze I smile, thinking “I’ve got ages then, this was going well a minute ago”.
Now I’m many things, but I ain’t stupid. I’m off Jack!
Returning to Amy I find her in good spirits, literally, drinking Tanqueray from the bottle. We sit and I explain the situation and we wait.
It’s hard to be normal when you’re waiting to see if someone comes back alive. The more time that goes by the more the chances of him walking in reduce. Replacing the gin with water and after the second cup of Earl Gray (we might be in France but in a crisis, get the tea out, we’re English) the familiar squeak from unoiled bolt locks picks up our ears and we both lean in.
The front door latch is lifted and the door slowly creeps inwards. It’s him.
Dishevelled and obviously having cried lots since our last encounter he apologises, a lot. With no words I let them hug and I skulk out the back. As I reverse the creep of the door and the squek from the bolts I look back at the house and pause myself.
Two very distinct outcomes were possible that evening. One awful and one which happened, with nothing in between. It’s rare to see such a strong indicator of opportunity and choice in our lives so I absorbed it. He chose wisely and what an opportunity he has to build.
Tom is off the booze and sober since that day.
Reflect for a minute and think about how every second you experience you have a choice to make. Make the better one and make it for a reason.
Until tomorrow, chao.