GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS 2016 NOMINEE, BEST DEBUT AUTHOR. BESTSELLING JPH FICTION TITLE 2016.
All relationships start out as love stories. But they don’t all end as one.
In the past, in the beige neutrality of our flat with lawn mowers and televisions and scaffold poles and chirping seagulls outside, I swallow and open my eyes. Blink. My back aches because I’ve been sitting cross-legged on the living-room floor for what seems like an eternity.
“Are you meditating?” a voice says, but I’m not sure if it’s taking the piss or not. That’s the thing about marriage, after a while, you stop knowing when your spouse is serious or not, when they’re joking or jibing. Next – and you don’t remember when – you stop even caring. At least, that’s how my marriage became. But not yet, not in this moment.
In this moment, I’m trying to remain centred and in the present, removing myself from all past and future concerns. I’m holding my palms face outwards, resting them on my knees.
“Shhh,” I’m saying gently. “I’m concentrating.”
“I’ve got something to tell you,” the voice continues. I struggle to open my eyes and stand up but my legs are still crossed and twisted. The blood rushes past my eyes and I see a blur, like white rock and sky, spinning out of control. I can hear the sound of children wailing, but they’re trapped inside white, feathered, seagull bodies. I see the sea, crashing waves, needle-sharp rocks.
“You okay?” The sunlight is filtering through our living-room windows and I am desperately trying to focus, to remain here, in the past, when we were happy and alive and our world was filled with possibility. Our lives were wonderful sometimes. Ordinary and humdrum and wonderful. I forgot that towards the end, but now I’m seeing it through dying eyes, I remember. It wasn’t all bad – we both messed up. But people do that all the time don’t they. And there’s always a way back if you want it hard enough.
“What?” I struggle to say, clinging to my memories desperately, like a child clutching a balloon in the wind.
“Doesn’t matter,” the voice says simply, disconnecting from me. Disconnecting permanently, maybe. My heart stops beating, just for a moment. I think it did matter, but I didn’t notice until now. Too late, always too late. But it mattered. Listening to one another mattered.
Novels by Nigel Jay Cooper
Also, did I mention Beat The Rain? It’s a novel. I wrote it. The reviews so far are really rather good. It’s also currently the Bestselling JHP Fiction title and was a semifinalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 for Best Debut Author.
You should buy it 🙂