I guess I’d be making breakfast. Grinding coffee, poaching eggs, maning the toaster.
I guess you’d still be in bed and we’d be shouting up for you to come down. For your cards and presents – the birthday ritual rolled out every year for you and your sisters.
I guess by now, Izzy would have gone up to your room and jumped on you.
But this assumes you’re at home. This assumes you’ve come home and that, to all intents and purposes, time has frozen.
This is the third birthday you’ve missed. Two and a half years of you not being here. Two and a half years of changed politics, changing plans, changing temperatures, of shifting sand. Of friends moving on, falling out, getting jobs, of getting on with their lives.
And that’s the hardest thing, you see.
For me, time is frozen. And really, if I’m being honest, I don’t want it to unfreeze, to thaw out, to ease.
Because that means that you, and your little sister fade a little. As if time displaces you. Time means I can’t imagine what you’d be doing or where you’d be. It means you’ve lost your place in the world. Your slot. The time slot you should be filling right now. The piece of life and the piece of this world that is yours, by rights.
Happy Birthday Bethy. xx