By Allie Cooper
Contemporary Romance, 322 pages
Cover art by Blair Walker
When Trish’s son Dan takes his life her own life begins to crumble as she looks for answers in the bottom of a wine bottle. Finding none she summons up the strength to do things differently. She reconnects with Dan’s dad and forms a new relationship with him. But can past love offer a future love?
The book follows Trish’s process of grief and delves in the other family members and friends lives and how Dan’s suicide has affected them. Their stories build up a picture of Dan, the reasons behind his choice and the profound affect it has on his family
Front row. Best seat in the house. If Trish closes her eyes, she can imagine that in her state of confusion she had bought tickets to a rap concert.
The beats and raps of Scribe assault her. Anger stay away for now, she sighs. Trish feels a hand on her shoulder and looks up. “Tom.” Their eyes drill what their mouths can’t speak. “Can I join you?”
“Of course. It’s your right.”
“Dad.” Mandy gets up and falls into his arms, inhaling smells of childhood comfort.
“How’re you going, my Millie Mollie?”
Trish is transported back to a rundown cottage, a huge claw-foot bath, the four of them splashing and laughing—tight knit—country fair-isle with hope and wholemeal bread in equal portions. How did it come unravelled? Don’t answer that question now.
First time we’ve all been together in a while. What would Dan think? Is he here or just his shell?
Where’s faith when you need it? Mum would have it sorted, faith that is, not reason. Thank God she’s not here. But right now, I could do with a mum.
The music stops. Time for the words. “Today we are here to remember Daniel and to celebrate his life.”
Trish wants to reach out for Mandy’s hand, but Tom has laid claim to both of them. So it’s just me. The words stand and mock, tell and smile.
“Daniel wanted this read out. ‘Cheers for turning up. Good to see all my bros in one spot. Thought there’d be more of you. Guess I can see who my real friends are. And guess you’ll be wondering if I really can. You’ll have to join me to find out. Have a drink for me today. I feel so scared writing this. My stomach’s a cricket ball and my head is a ball of wool. I wish I could have given the wool to my nana. She might have made sense of it; got her needles out and made a colourful scarf. I am so sorry, Mum, Dad, Mandy. You guys are awesome... Don’t forget to look after Rusty, Mum, and give him a hug from me.
Trish isn’t sure if it’s her tears she can taste and smell or whether the whole room is infused with the vapour of grief. Behind her she senses the pain of mateship. The mates who only last month celebrated Dan’s twenty-first. Beautiful, bright, privileged, Tequila shots, an enviable bar tab at the right place. They all said it was a great night... Just finished their exams and celebration mixed with alcohol ensured a party to remember.