The argument started over the rules of a game. Initially not really an argument at all, but somehow it escalated. Now they were dragging out old bug-bears—the time Gaz missed his mother-in-law’s birthday, the stockings she leaves all over the bathroom. Which was so stupid. He was a good man. Not perfect. Bianca had never wanted perfect.

He picked up his keys.

‘Where do you think you’re going?’ She spread her arms to block his path.

‘Out.’ He pushed past.

‘Gaz. No. Stay here.’

‘And get shouted at. No thanks.’

‘But ——’ It was all wrong, she thought. Watching him spin the wheels on the gravel Bianca remembered what she’d really been meaning to say to him. She’d been stewing on it for some time. She remembered as well the thrill of speed she’d once relished as she sat in his passenger seat.

But he was too old to drive that way now. It was worse when he was angry. Or when he’d been drinking. He was angry now and probably heading for the pub.


At twelve she got the call. He was drunk. He’d crashed the car.

‘Are you hurt?’ she asked. He sounded terrible.

‘Me,’ he replied his voice a distant monotone. ‘Yeah. I am.’

Something about his emphatic ‘I’ made her gasp.


2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (