John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Wednesday 25 July 2012) Life in review

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Wednesday 25 July 2012) Life in review

Roy looked again at Kristie’s previous email, the one that had befuddled him: “It’s a long time since you said something that nice.”

He shuddered. He knew it was true. He knew, too, that saying nice things to Kristie had been something he’d enjoyed. It had been part of the way he’d felt right about himself, along with the Square Mile job, the nice cars, the school achievements and good manners of his daughters, the significant but tasteful enhancements of his Purley castle over the years.

Their home had been all but empty at the start of their married life – a clean slate of a space on which the newly weds could sketch afresh each day. They’d made love everywhere: in the bathroom, on the stairs, on the living room floor. She’d become pregnant very soon, they’d barely bothered to avoid it.

Roy knew it was what Kristie had wanted, she knew that he knew and that anything she wanted, he wanted too. Kristie had had parallel insights into Roy’s career plans, the pride he took in her, the ways his siblings annoyed him, his embarrassment over Holly, his puzzlement over Sally, his need to immerse in World Cups, Ryder Cups and World Championship Snooker from the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.

It was a case of mutual surrender and things went according to plan: Leila was born; Lucy was born; Kristie gave up her job; Roy left his job in Sutton for the first of a string of better ones up in town, where opportunity and money gushed everywhere. Kristie became a classroom helper at Leila and Lucy’s primary school, and did some private science tutoring; Roy played golf every other Sunday, but otherwise preferred to spend weekends at home. He kept his imaginings about, just possibly, having had a son with Sally to himself.

Years passed. The house accumulated stuff: stuff that stayed and stayed, and other stuff that just passed through as clothes wore out, the girls got older and new technology became old. Leila went to university, then Lucy did too. Leila joined the police. Lucy got a job with Oxfam and moved to a shared house in Plumstead that Roy and Kristie never visited. Leila married Glen, who seemed a decent chap. Lucy moved to Cambodia. Leila had Tom and Ella. Don died and Gwen moved in, already at dementia’s door and quickly began forgetting everyone, everywhere and everything.

And by that time Roy had lost his job and done that daft, desperate thing on London Bridge and finally set up shop on his own, and now he was secretly, obliquely testing out chucking that in without quite figuring where doing so might leave him, and generally knowing nothing much for sure except that he wanted to go to ground.

He had to put some things in order. Whatever he did about himself, it was the least Kristie deserved to come back to.

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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