Listen…do you hear that? It’s a phone ringing in an almost empty apartment. Almost nobody is there to pick it up. Nobody will hear Matt’s mother’s story. Nobody will hear how ‘troubled’ Matt killed himself. Nobody will feel the two invisible hands wringing their stomach, twisting it this way and that like an old cloth.

Nobody will have to remember him whizzing around the flat. Always in fast-forward compared to the slomo the rest of us exist in. He was our Fiery Jack, a trail of gleaming light writhing between the dull, lustreless, inanimate objects that were the human beings he shared the earth with. Nobody will need to mourn the loss of that bright point of light.

No-one will read the letters he wrote, that fizzled and buzzed and hummed off the page; devoid of punctuation; full of repetition; always asking, ‘Where are you? When are you coming home?’

‘I’m so sick of it all,’ he had scrawled. ‘I need more than this,’ he wrote.

Nobody will hear his mother’s soft voice. Nobody will have to say, ‘Oh Norma, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,’ over and over again till the tears come. Nobody will have to be comforted by a dead boy’s mother’s soft voice.

‘It’s alright, love. You don’t have to be sorry. He’d had enough. He’d suffered enough. Matthew was in so much pain.

I saw him, you know, after they’d found him. There wasn’t a mark on him. It must have been very quick. Derek sends his love. No, no he can’t come to the phone. Yes, I’ll send you the details of the funeral, I’ll do that. It won’t be for a while. The railway has to have its own inquiry when someone throws themselves under a train and so technically he’s property of the railway company for the time being. I wasn’t allowed to touch him.’
And then, you see, nobody will have to hear her voice crack and then her tears won’t flood the line and make it real.

And so let the phone just ring and ring in the almost empty apartment and nobody will pick up and then none of this would have happened and Matthew would still be with us, wouldn’t he?


Georgina Pascoe



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