Saturday, 12 December 2009
31. Run, Leona Lewis (2008)
Two in the morning, this time last year, Neil asleep on the sofa, as always, dead to the world, the same Neil that Barry and I couldn't wake all those years ago as we woke up on the nightbus, daylight shocking us into consciousness, the 259 heading north-east to Waltham Cross, so many miles from home. Now, he snores gently, the backing track to Lucy, his girlfriend of so many years now, and me, sitting cross-legged on the carpet, white wine filling our livers, slowing our drunken limbs, lifting our voices as we flick through the music channels, looking for Leona Lewis.
We found her that night, and that dark, ghostly video, hearing her soft, smoky voice doing something remarkable to that Snow Patrol ballad over and over and over again. Hearing the way she turned it into a strange, doomy requiem, the way she sung that second line – "and now I really have to go" – giving it a sadness and weight that it had never had before. And me sitting here, a friend's arm round my shoulders, in the flat that he had left, all his things still around us, getting some sort of comfort from it. Lucy's arms holding the pieces of me tightly together as everything else cut me through.