Paddy and Soon-Li

A year ago today, I became free again, or so I thought.

I can’t remember if I had said it first or if Paddy did.  Imagine going through it all over again!  Though, that sometimes seems better than the hell that is now.

“Sooneee” I can still hear Paddy calling.  He could never say Soon Li properly.  I did love the sound of my name when he said it.

It was a bright winter’s day.  The skies were blue and the air crisp.  I was just putting on my thermals, I think.

“Paddy, I’m in the bedroom.”

“Soonee, Dave is heading out with the boys.  I think I’ll join them for a drink.  See you later.”  I heard the door shut.

It was always like that.  Quick.  I could never get the chance to say anything.  It pissed me off as I was looking forward to having a quiet evening in together.  One drink, he says.  It is never just one drink.

“Soonee, are you asleep?”

I lay on the bed on my side, staring out of the window.  I don’t move, waiting to gauge how drunk he is.  The window reflects the red LEDS from our bedside alarm, spelling OO:EO.  03:00.

“Soon…?”  That was all I heard before he fell into bed and the gurgle-y snore started.  That was definitely more than one drink.  That would have been probably more than ten.

We had been together for three years.  In this house for two and married for one.  We had many arguments about everything except that which mattered.

I got up early the next day to make Paddy cooked breakfast.  I guess I was hoping to cheer myself up.

“The smell of burning bacon fat always wakes me up.”  He nuzzled me behind my neck.

I can still feel his unshaven chin scratching my skin.  I can still smell it.  The stench of alcohol.

“Go away Paddy”, I barked.

I had known then, instantly that he wasn’t going to let it go this time.  Perhaps I wanted it to happen.  It is all still so clear and vivid in my head.  It’s as if time slowed down.

I knew that what I was going to say will make things worse, and still I did it.

“Another Friday night down the drain for me.  Is it not enough that you work late in the week?  I seem to spend all my time alone these days.”  My voice was low and guttural.  Every word carefully said and timed to his every muscle twitch.

His face.  I remember how his handsome face changed from word to word.  His eyes were the first to show anger.  It pierced and yet I went on.  The end came when the sides of his mouth moved into a smile.  My handsome Paddy looked like a monster.  I knew that it was my monster.  A monster I had created.

“Soon Li.”

He said my name, pronouncing the ‘L’ for the very first time.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood.  My pride took over at that point and everything after that happened in a blur.

I had said it first, after all.

I said, “Paddy, I want a divorce”, and I left.

That was a year ago today.  I never got to talk to him about it.

Paddy died two days later, choking on his own vomit.  Dave had found him, I was told.  Ironic.  Dave had found Paddy whilst on his way to the pub.  I still wonder if Dave or the boys knew the truth.

What I would never know though is whether Paddy had any intention of saying it.