After You Left by Carol Mason EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Carol Mason
- Genre: Contemporary British Fiction, Literary Fiction, British Contemporary Literature
- Publish Date: 1 April 2017
- Size: 2 MB
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Avail for Download
- Price: Free
The alarm goes off, and, for a moment or two, in my semi-awake state, I
think I am still in Hawaii. I slide a hand across the mattress and make contact
with his mid-back. I can hear his mammoth breathing, never quite a fullyfledged snore. With the gentle clawing of my fingers on his bare skin, he rolls
over now. He looks across at me, sleepily, and we smile.
But the rainbow-coloured bubble of my happiness doesn’t hold. Instead
of Justin’s warm, waking body, I am patting cold sheets. Then comes the
blunt, quick scutter of disbelief. I am endlessly astonished how I can be hit so
unexpectedly by something I already know.
I’ve made a terrible mistake. I can’t go on, for everyone’s sake. I’m
Events of four days ago have cruelly lain in wait on this side of my
consciousness, keen to be relived – as if I haven’t played them over enough
already. But each time I do, it’s neither more, nor less, real.
I woke up in Kauai, like I’ve just woken up now. Justin wasn’t there. I
imagined he’d gone for a swim, like he’d done the previous three mornings. I
got up, drew back the white voile curtain to let the sun in. I stood there in its
path, gazing out across a blazing turquoise ocean to where the black army of
early morning surfers was riding the waves.
I couldn’t see him. Of course, I wasn’t even remotely perturbed. I just
liked spotting his head. My husband. The noble-shaped skull and thick, dark
hair. His arms windmilling as he cut a course at right angles to the tide. It’s
my favourite thing to do: watch him when he’s unaware, imagining I’m
looking at a stranger.
I let the curtain fall away, and went to the minibar to take out the cream.
I was just about to insert a coffee pod into the Nespresso machine when I saw
the tented piece of paper beside the two cups and saucers. On the front, Alice,
in his writing.
I remember the hesitant reach of my hand. The words on the page that
didn’t make sense. Then the open wardrobe door. Half a dozen or so empty
coat hangers. The bare luggage rack where his suitcase had previously sat
The Hawaiian cop was a blank-eyed bulldozer of a woman. Her hair
was shaved off, leaving only a clump of spiky fringe like a goatee at the
wrong end of the face. I wanted to describe her to Justin when he came back,
and tell him how intimidating she was, but then I had to fathom it all over
again: Justin wasn’t coming back.
The hotel manager had been the one to call
the police; he was nice enough to let us use his office. I’d been wandering
around, disorientated, in my bathrobe, telling people that my husband had
disappeared. A couple of hotel staff had helped me search the beach. They
were very kind, but I could tell right away that the policewoman wasn’t going
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