Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.
I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.
It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.
We used to enjoy one another’s company.
We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.
It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.
I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.
And eternal respect for my charm.
I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way to the bar for a refill.
I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.
As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.
When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.
I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.
I still have that pound coin.
What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.