You’re sorry now, you’re sorry now, you’re so fucking very sorry now –
You thought you’d never get away. You thought Mike Bamber would never let you leave. You thought he’d lock you in your room at the Courtlands Hotel, Brighton. Then you thought Peter would never agree to come back with you. Not back to Derby with you. Not tonight. Then you thought you’d never find a car. Not at that time. Not to go to Derby. Never find a driver. Then the journey took a lifetime. The traffic. The weather. You thought you’d never make it. Thought the meeting would be over by the time you got here. But here you are, back home in Derby. Here for the meeting at the King’s Hall, Derby –
The King’s Hall packed. Standing room only. The King’s Hall expectant –
You climb onto the stage. You raise your hands. You fight the tears –
‘We took the job because we were out of work,’ you tell the King’s Hall, Derby. ‘We are football men and the position was open.’
You have come to say goodbye. You have come to say thanks –
‘Thanks for everything you’re doing,’ you tell them. ‘And don’t forget to support Roy McFarland …’
You start to cry. You cannot stop. You hand the microphone to Pete and Peter says, ‘I think we’d better cool it now. But thank you for your support.’
Can you feel this?
You all twisted and knotted up, this is the mess Misty drives three hours to see in the hospital. And that doesn’t count the ferry ride. You’re the mess Misty’s married to. This is the worst part of her day, writing this. It was your mother, Grace, who had the bright idea about Misty keeping a coma diary. It’s what sailors and their wives used to do, Grace said, keep a diary of every day they were apart. It’s a treasured old seafaring tradition. A golden old Waytansea Island tradition. After all those months apart, when they come back together, the sailors and wives, they trade diaries and catch up on what they missed. How the kids grew up. What the weather did. A record of everything. Here’s the everyday shit you and Misty would bore each other with over dinner. Your mother said it would be good for you, to help you process through your recovery. Someday, God willing, you’ll open your eyes and take Misty in your arms and kiss her, your loving wife, and here will be all your lost years, written here in loving detail, all the details of your kid growing up and your wife longing for you, and you can sit under a tree with a nice lemonade and have a nice time catching up.