Grief

Duty free wife

It was at Heathrow airport that I cried for the first time while in duty free. No, it wasn’t out of trolley rage. It wasn’t because the EasyJet bastards had charged me for not printing my boarding card. It was because I was passing the Lancôme counter and I so desperately wanted to be buying liquid foundation and grey eye pencil.

Those of you who have happened across this blog in WordPress reader because of the tag “beauty” will probably be a bit baffled, so let me explain. I’m a lipstick lesbian and absurdly young widow. I have a dead wife. Dead because of suicide. She will be 26 years old and beautiful forever. This means she doesn’t need her Lancôme makeup anymore and that makes me sad. It makes me cry in the airport in duty free.

It’s the small things that often hurt the most, that trigger the lip quiver, the dabbing at eyes with whatever material comes to hand (often a pashmina) and the sniffly nose. If I’m not prepared to be confronted with a triggering situation, sometimes it can set off full tears.

I think most people understand that it’s a given that holidays and significant dates are difficult for those who are bereaved. What many don’t realise though is that a whiff of Narcisso Rodruiguez perfume, certain phraseology in a conversation, a snippet of music from Pocahontas, someone wearing a hideous gilet, and even the sight of a bottle of Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc can potentially cause a full meltdown and be more painful than any Christmas Day or birthday, especially if caught off guard. For the most part though, we widows absorb the loss of our other halves into our lives and become adept at holding it together and anticipating when a situation might be tricky. For the most part, I smile at the memories of times with my wife.

Today, I flew home from an Easter trip. I had anticipated it would be a hard trip in a previous post. I so wish wife was waiting for me at home, excited about me bringing her a new little makeup stash, or rather, expecting one to be brought to her by her dutiful wife. I wish she was here to tell me off for not buying more gin. However, as a widow, I don’t have any duties left to fulfil as a wife. There are things that I want to do to remember her by, but nothing I owe out of a duty. I am duty free. I wish I had duties. When I come home, I’m a wifeless wife.

In advance of airport security and passport control, I had braced myself for the Lancôme counter and the Narcisso Rodruiguez perfume. Made it. I did a sad smile and a quiet little “darling, I miss you” as I self harmed by taking a whiff of her perfume.

I hadn’t, however, braced myself for the special offer on Toblerones. She loved the white ones but was always reluctant to pay full whack for them, even in duty free, because they’re just chocolate. She would have gone wild today. They were two euros cheaper than usual.

Now, somewhere out there is a small Spanish child who thinks he made a woman cry next to the massive fuck off chocolate stall in Barajas Airport.

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