Monday 21 February 2011

Since You Left


Gavin Broom

A double espresso with a Red Bull chaser

Oct 17, 1993

Dear Luke,

So, wow! I guess as I’m writing this you’ll be flying home. See? Told you I’d write! I wonder if you’re up there looking down on the same Scottish clouds I can see from here. Wouldn’t that be weird?

My dad calls those jumbo jets “big doss-houses in the sky.” He flew to New Zealand on business once. Took him forever and the entire cabin was stinking of other people’s sweat, like someone had died or something. He said the other passengers took off their shoes and socks and stuff, which would totally gross me out. As you know, I hate feet. Except yours, of course! Hope it’s not too bad on your flight.

Nothing much has happened since you left. Big surprise, eh? Ha-ha. It’s been four hours! After I waved you off, I grabbed a coffee at the bus station, but it was too busy and too noisy and I was feeling too sad, so I ended up leaving it and I headed back to the flat, which is where I am now. Everyone’s out and I have the place to myself, but I’ve locked myself in my room anyway, listening to the new Nirvana album and feeling worse than I did at the bus station. God, and if that wasn’t depressing enough, uni starts up again tomorrow and I haven’t done an ounce of work. Arg!

I’ll write a proper letter to you once something happens.

Miss you already.

Caitlin x

Oct 18, 1993

Dear Luke,

It’s funny. I guess you won’t have received the first letter and here I am writing to you again. Sad or what? Have you even landed yet? I never could get my head round time differences!

Hope you got home safely and you’re not too jet-lagged. My dad said that it took him a couple of days to adjust but his was a longer flight in the opposite direction, so hopefully it won’t be too bad for you.

Uni started up again today. It was the longest day ever and I just realised how far behind I am in my coursework. I’m seriously considering faking ME or glandular fever or something. Steph, who I think you met at Louise’s party (she’s the one with the huge breasts that looks a lot like Wendy James out of Transvision Vamp but don’t tell her I said that!) didn’t show up until the afternoon just so she could make a big entrance. She’s so tanned! Even darker than she was when you saw her. But with that white hair she looks kinda like the cappuccino I had at the bus station yesterday! I feel a bit opaque in comparison to her. Maybe I need to get to a tanning salon. Or maybe I should just come out and visit you. What do you think?

Anyway, that’s me two letters in the lead, so you better write back soon, mister. Just kidding! Ha-ha.

Still missing you loads.

Caitlin x

Oct 23, 1993

Dear Luke,

How you doing? Did you get my first two letters? (I think I’ve written to you twice but it might be more than that. For some reason, I was really missing you last Wednesday so I skipped Uni and I got very drunk instead. I woke up with my shoes on and there were stamps missing from my purse. I hope I didn’t write anything too corny or messed up! Oops! So if you do get a third letter that sounds like the postcard Homer sent Marge in that episode of the Simpsons, please ignore it – unless you think it’s cute!)

It’s the first weekend since you left and I must admit it’s been strange not having you about. Steph had a party at her parents’ place in the West End (probably just to show off her insanely deep tan) and I went on my own. And I left on my own, too, before you ask! Ewan, who I don’t think you officially met, used to flirt with me every time we were out together, but he didn’t even talk to me last night. I think he must have heard about us, coz although he was pretending to be interested in Rahat Ali talking about her new Mercedes, I caught him glaring at me over her shoulder a couple of times. You know, before I met you, I might (might) have given him a chance if only he hadn’t been so persistent. Now I’m just glad I didn’t.

It was an OK party. I spent most of the time just listening to conversations, feeling kinda spaced out and trippy. I have to admit, Steph did look gorgeous. She had this off-white, linen dress on and she looked like a model. Even Louise said so, and Louise hates Steph, as you know. Despite it being her party at her parents’ house, she left with Mark Templeton before midnight and hadn’t come back by the time I left, which was much, much later. I was pretty drunk (again) and stoned (oops) but I’m paying for it today. I’ve got three assignments to hand in on Monday and it’s just not going to happen so I thought I’d be better writing to you instead!

I’m going to take some painkillers, lie on my bed and listen to the new Smashing Pumpkins CD, which absolutely rocks, by the way.

Did you have any plans this weekend? Hanging out at Quarter Moon? How’s JD? You talked about him so much I feel like I know him myself. How have you been occupying your time besides crying over me (kidding – ha-ha!)? Write soon and let me know, ok?

Caitlin x

Nov 1, 1993

Dear Luke,

Sorry I haven’t written for so long. It’s been more than a week and I feel really bad. Am I forgiven?

After my shock at how long it had been since I last wrote, I got paranoid that I had been writing to the wrong address all this time. But I phoned international directory enquiries and the guy there said I had it right. I even tried calling you a couple of times, but it just rang out. Maybe I got the time difference mixed up or something, which would be so like me. I just can’t get my head round it!

You’ve been gone for longer than you were here, which makes me so sad that I could cry if I thought about it long enough. I miss you so much. It’s like someone gave me a reason to live and then ripped it away. Uni’s closed for three weeks over Christmas and New Year (if I haven’t been kicked out before that!) so I’ll try to come and visit you if I can sweet talk my dad into lending me the money. How does that sound? Of course, if you want to come over here again, I’ll make you more than welcome. Ha-ha! But you already know that!

So what’s been happening here? Not a lot. The other day I’m fairly sure I spent three hours sitting in the library at Uni just staring out of the window at absolutely nothing. Is that weird? Beats reading textbooks, I suppose, coz that just reminds me of how far behind I am. It’s like I’m seeing the words but I’m not taking them in. I don’t know if that makes sense, but my concentration levels these days are practically nonexistent. I’m blaming you, mister! Ha-ha!

Last night was Halloween and Ewan had a fancy dress / masquerade party / ball. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. They are lame. He didn’t invite me (not that anyone actually invites anyone to these things – we just turn up) but he made a point of not inviting me. Still jealous about us, no doubt. I went anyway and kept my ice hockey mask on all night so he probably didn’t realise I was there! I just mingled in with the eight other Jasons. It must’ve been quite funny watching us all smoke joints and drink punch through a straw. Ewan pulled this stunt where he pretended to cut his own wrist with a kitchen knife but he had ketchup smeared on the blade so it only looked like he was cutting himself. His idiot brother, whose name escapes me but has been the drunkest person on the planet each time we’ve met, tried to copy him and ended up in hospital. Rumour has it, he needed twenty stitches and they’ve got him on suicide watch.

Once again, you needn’t worry. I was a well behaved girl. Well, drink and drugs aside anyway! Not everyone behaved with such angelic morals, though. When I went to collect my coat from the bedroom as I was leaving, Marsha Greene (who you said reminded you of an even more manically depressed Courtney Love) was having sex with two of the Jasons and none of them even registered that I was in the room.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be meeting my mother for lunch in the city centre today and I’m already an hour late so I’d better get going.

Can’t wait to hear from you. I’m really missing you. Please write soon.

Caitlin x

Nov 15, 1993

Dear Luke,

I think my postman’s looking into getting me institutionalised. He thinks I’m stalking him or something. And for all my troubles, I still haven’t heard from you. You have been getting my letters, haven’t you? I’ve no idea how long it takes for mail to reach you, but surely it’s quicker than a month? Can you even let me know if you get this?

Longing to hear back from you.

Caitlin x

Dec 2, 1993

Dear Luke,

I can’t believe it’s so close to Christmas and as usual I’m broke. Christmas depresses the hell out of me.

To make matters worse, it looks like my coming to visit you in a couple of weeks is off. I got into an argument with my folks last week when I had to ask for some help with my rent and in the commotion I ended up blurting out about my failing university work. My dad gave me the usual spiel about “knuckling down”, “putting in the extra effort” and “focussing on my studies” which totally washes over me now. He’s calculated exactly how much I need for food, rent and my share of the bills and is giving me £5 a week more than that for “emergencies”. I’ve had to sell my last eighth of blow and six ecstasy tabs just so I could afford a packet of cigarettes and get to the pub! Oh, woe is me! Don’t worry, though. I’ve put a little aside for your Christmas present!

Do you think you’ll be able to come over before New Year? It would be amazing to see you again. The city’s lovely at this time of the year when they put on the Christmas lights and it would be great to have someone to share that with. I spent most of today imagining how magical it would be to walk round George Square with you at night, especially if there was a little frost in the air. What can I say? I’m an old romantic at heart. Ha-ha!

So what else is new? Well, remember I told you about Marsha (you did meet Marsha, didn’t you?) and her antics at the fancy dress / masquerade party / ball? Well, short of being embarrassed about it, she’s going about the place telling people she thinks she’s pregnant and doesn’t know which one’s the dad. What a strange little world I live in!

I guess I should tell you that Ewan’s talking to me again. He’s invited me to an early Christmas party up north tomorrow night, but just as friends. I’ve decided to go but I promise you nothing will happen and I always keep my promises. He said he doesn’t look at me that way anymore and I’m certainly not interested in him. I hope I haven’t upset you.

I was seriously thinking about not mentioning it, but honestly you have nothing to worry about and I’d rather be up front.

I hate not knowing what you’re thinking about this. You’re not angry, are you? Please let me know.

Caitlin x

Dec 7, 1993

Dear Luke,

It’s taken me to today to get my head together enough to write this. I feel like I’ve taken a ton of really badly cut speed.

Nothing “happened” last weekend, before you get all worried. I told you, I keep my promises. You won’t believe me, but the party was held in a castle. A real castle. You’d have totally loved it. I can just see your face! They had the grounds all decked out with ice sculptures and fairy lights. It was like something out of Cinderella and I was totally in the mood for having a great time. But for the whole night, Ewan went on and on about you and not in a good way. He thinks you’re a bad influence on me and that I’ve changed since I met you. I know I should have left at that point, but I had taken some E and was so high with all the fairy tale stuff anyway – I just wanted to dance. You know what I’m like! But he kept going on and on about it and saying how he was just being a friend and friends look out for each other and if he was you, he’d be treating me with some respect.

Eventually, I abandoned him for Louise (turned out she was there with a guy we had no idea she knew – small world) but she feels pretty much the same way as Ewan, which was odd because I always thought the two of you got on really well.

Maybe it’s jealousy. I don’t know. They have no idea what you mean to me and how important our relationship is. If only you’d write back to me – then maybe they’d understand.

Anyway, I was too drunk and wired and confused to be able to deal with it properly so I broke down in tears and ran out of the place (just like Cinderella again), despite the fact that I had no idea where I was or where I wanted to go and this castle was in the middle of fucking nowhere and it had taken us hours to drive there. After I’d walked for a couple of miles, I finally made it to a telephone box and I called my dad. It was nearly daylight by the time he found me. We didn’t speak at all on the drive back.

Why don’t you write? I’m at my parents’ house now. The address is at the top of the page, so there’s no excuses, mister. Just kidding! Ha-ha! I hope you get this in time for Christmas. I’ve enclosed your present. I hope it fits.

Caitlin x

Dec 24, 1993

Dear Luke,

I’ve decided I’m not going to write to you again.


Jan 3, 1994

Dear Luke,

Happy New Year!

I tried to phone you at the bells but there was no answer. I couldn’t work out if it was already New Year where you are or if it was later, but I didn’t get hold of you so I don’t suppose it matters. One of these days, you’re going to need to sit me down and explain this time difference thing to me. I just can’t seem to get my head round it! What am I like? Ha-ha! Don’t answer that!

So Uni’s starting up again soon and I’m actually looking forward to it. I think this year is going to be really good for me. I have a great feeling that everything is just going to fall into place.

Being back at my parents’ has really helped me get my head together – away from all the stresses and strains of university life in the city. I’m also saving money, which can only be a good thing! Who knows, I might even have enough for a flight. Keep your fingers crossed!

So how are you? Did you have a good Christmas and New Year? I saw some highlights on the news of some big bomb dropping in Times Square. I looked out for you. How sad is that? But like I said to my dad, somebody somewhere’s got to see somebody they know in that crowd, why not me? Does that make sense? Do you have any plans to come over again? It would be great to see you. I spoke to Louise on the phone last night and she told me to say “hi”. So, “hi” from Louise and an even bigger “hi” from me! Oh, Luke, I’ve got a great feeling about 1994. I really think this could be our year.

Write soon.

Caitlin x

Author Bio:
Gavin Broom lives and writes in Alloa, Scotland. He's had fifty works published online or in print and he is a 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee. At time of writing, he doesn't own a house at the beach. Further evidence can be gathered at

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