John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Tuesday 24 July 2012) Olympic countdown

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Tuesday 24 July 2012) Olympic countdown

Roy slid back the door of the bedroom’s built-in clothes closet and leafed through Kristie’s things: winter items mostly, the summer stuff had gone with her on holiday. His nosing swept him back to his boyhood and the puzzle of why Don’s wardrobe was smaller than Gwen’s when Don was a larger person.

“Because ladies have more clothes,” Brian had explained, in a bored voice.

“Why do they have more clothes?” Roy had asked.

“Because they have to be pretty,” Brian replied testily, and went off to do something else.

“Oh.”

Brian’s answer had made sense. Roy had noticed by that age that although Don always took care with his cuff links and ties, Gwen seemed to spend hours choosing frocks, blouses, skirts, shoes and doing her hair. Similarly, Nerys had more clothes than Roy and cared about them more. Roy, of course, cared more about football. It had yet to dawn on him that he didn’t play it all that well.

The forgotten end of Kristie’s rail detained Roy most: little knitted jumpers and cardigans; neat winter coats with fake fur collars and cuffs. Each item recovered a bit more of some hazed seam of private history, not tied to any special place or date. Rather, Roy re-lived the pride he’d felt just being with Kristie, being linking with someone so sweetly capable and clever, and just a darling bit different from the sort of wife who’d seemed to be his destiny.

He lifted a coat from the rail, pressed it to his cheek, inhaled its aroma, felt embarrassed, put the coat back. His breathing quickened and he went to the spare room where he half wrote an email to Kristie, didn’t send it and grazed the news instead: G4S staff “cheat” Olympics security x-ray machine tests; Hoy to carry GB flag; opening ceremony director Boyle asks rehearsal audience to #savethesurprise for the nation by not tweeting or posting stuff on YouTube. Roy found that the Olympic torch had passed through Croydon yesterday, what a dope he was for not knowing. He might have gone, but maybe not.

Only four days until the Games. Down in the living room, the pieces of his archive sprawled across the floor. Roy would have to make the most of those four days. Time was marching on.

All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE. Follow John Vane on Twitter.

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Categories: Culture, Roy's Summer of Sport

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