“NO,” I say. I’m cross with Cher again, and push her off.
Cher won’t let it go. She wants to know about Pigeon’s trial. All about Pigeon, like as if I could really tell her Pigeon’s story, or like I really know anything except for that I miss him, and that without him nothing ever happens, and nothing ever matters, like Cher.
“Lets go and see him,” says Cher then. “Lets go and see him.”
“No,” I say, and I stand up. “Why?” asks Cher, and her eyes are big and brown and soft, like feathers and cushions and cotton wool.
“We don’t know where he is.” “He’s in Liverpool,” says Cher.
I stop. In England? Pigeon? “How d’you know?”
“I saw it on a letter. They wrote and said we could visit.” “Well you can’t.”
“Cher! He killed your dad!” I say it. And it’s then it hurts me. The feeling like panic up my body and in my chest. I can’t breathe. What’s wrong? What’s wrong with me?
I can hear sounds in my head, can hear people shouting in my head. It’s all terrible, big, dark. And then I’m just stood here on the grass again with Cher. Cher’s watching me. She just watches me and watches me until I go back to normal. Cher picks up a stone, and plays with it in her hand.
“So?” she says.
“What do you mean, so?” “He was a b ***** d,” she says then. And then she laughs. Cher laughs.
Under the curls, there’s a spot on Cher’s forehead I just want to squeeze.
“He’s gone anyways, Iola,” she says. And her voice is kind. As if she understands. And it feels like some of that pressure lifts, just like a tiny bit of a breeze on a heavy day.
But there’s no way of getting rid of him, Pigeon. Not for good. He’ll be back. And there’s part of me can’t wait, and part of me that’d rather wait forever.
> Pigeon is the winner of the Wales Book of the Year and the Rhys Davies Fiction Prize. Published by Parthian
Pigeon by Alys Conran