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Just Two More Days

by Kit

Harry stood outside the railway station on that Friday afternoon, looking nervously vulnerable, his worn, black leather jacket standing out against the dirty white January snow as I pulled up beside him in my dirty white car. That image of the first time we met in person is burned into my memory and it still evokes the nervous excitement that I felt that day. He smiled hesitantly as he returned my greeting and accepted my invitation to get into the car.

"Sorry I'm late," I said as he sat down, carefully placing his small overnight bag between his feet before fastening his seat belt. "There was an accident on the bypass. A couple of cars skidded and crashed in the snow."

"That's okay, James," he replied with a diffident little smile. "I didn't mind waiting."

His voice sounded less deep than it had in our phone conversations, though it was difficult to be sure because those conversations had been few and brief. In fact, the first one had been only a couple of weeks earlier when, after much urging from me, he'd called me. Indeed, he'd always been the one to phone me, always taking care to withhold his number

I was pleased that he remembered that I don't like to be called Jim or Jimmy, but I knew that he was probably lying, just to be polite, about not minding the wait. After all, it must have been unpleasant, standing in the snow, exposed to the cold winter wind for almost an hour. As he didn't have a mobile phone I couldn't let him know that I was going to be delayed, so perhaps he'd even wondered if I'd stood him up. When I asked him about that later, though, he said that he was always sure that I'd turn up. I often wondered if that, too, was one of his polite little lies.

"How was the trip?" I asked, referring to the ninety-minute train journey from his small town to the large coastal city where I lived and worked.

It was, of course, a banal question intended just to break the ice and to get him talking. I didn't have the courage to ask him the real question in my mind: 'Does my real life appearance meet the expectations you had from the photos I'd emailed to you?'

"Fine," he replied quietly, his smile now perhaps a little more confident. "The train wasn't as full as I'd thought it might be, so it was better than I'd expected."

I hoped that the last part of his comment also applied to his first sight of me. The photos I'd sent him had been accurate and very recent, but also, of course, carefully chosen to show me at my best. As soon as I'd seen him, though his face was pinched with cold, I knew that the photos that he'd sent to me didn't do justice to his delicate beauty. In real life his high cheekbones, pale skin and pale blue eyes gave him an unearthly elf-like quality, which was only partly contradicted by the dishevelled look of his straw-coloured hair.

As we waited at the traffic lights I looked at him again and noticed that despite the warmth of the car he was still shivering a little, perhaps now due to nervousness.

"We'll be at my house in a few minutes," I said, trying to put him at ease, "and then we can have some tea to warm us up. And maybe some chocolate cake if you're hungry."

"That would be great," he said, for the first time sounding genuinely enthusiastic. "I love chocolate cake."

"Yes, I know," I said, pleased with his reaction. "You mentioned it ages ago, so that's why I baked it, just for you."

"You made a cake? Actually baked it yourself, just for me?"

He sounded so surprised, even shocked, that I briefly diverted my attention from the road long enough to glance at his face. I was saddened to see that the there was a hint of disbelief and doubt in his eyes, despite the fact that his overall expression was one of pleasure.

"Yes, I told you I would," I said, a little disappointed that he'd doubted me. "When you finally agreed to come and meet me, I said I'd bake you a chocolate cake. Didn't you think I'd keep my promise?"

"Well, yes," he said apologetically, "but I wasn't sure it was actually a promise."

I remember the first time we made contact through the gay dating website, over three moths before we actually met. Harry's profile title immediately caught my attention: 'Virgin, 21, seeks soul mate'. Well, let's face it, nowadays there seem to be very few twenty one year old virgins about, and not many of those few are looking for a soul mate. So, my curiosity aroused, I sent him that first contact message, not really expecting it to lead anywhere, especially as he lived more than sixty miles away.

By the end of the second week after that initial contact we were exchanging daily emails and had exchanged our first photos. He looked much younger than twenty-one in those pictures, but he assured me that it was indeed his true age, so I accepted it without any further doubts. After all, he only needed to be eighteen to be on the dating site and he only had to be sixteen to have sex legally, so why would he claim to be twenty-one if it weren't true?

Apart from the fact that his parents were divorced and that he lived with his mother, he never told me about his background, and I didn't want to scare him off by pressing him on the matter. From our exchanges of frequently long emails it became clear that we had many similar interests and that many of our opinions and our attitudes on various topics were the same, or at least not incompatible. Despite the seven years difference in our ages, we seemed to have a great deal in common.

Although he'd never had any sort of relationship before and I'd had more flings than I cared to remember, we both seemed to be looking for the same sort of long-term relationship. So, before I realised what was happening, and even though I knew it was probably foolish, I found myself growing more and more attached to him. We both admitted that we liked one another and even that we'd become very fond of one another. However, we never used any words more emotionally loaded than that.

It was obvious that he was intelligent and had a wide general knowledge, yet he'd been unemployed for almost a year, ever since the business that had employed him straight from school had made him redundant. For a while I wondered if there was something wrong with him, and eventually, after assuring him that it would make no difference to our friendship, I even asked him directly. Not only did he deny that there was any problem but the question had obviously upset him, because for a few days after that his emails were cool and almost distant.

His reaction scared me so much, and I was so afraid of losing his friendship, that forever after that I took great care not to say anything in my emails that might upset him. That was also the time I realised that I loved him. Of course, I knew it was foolish to love someone I'd never really met, and that's why I started trying to persuade him to visit me. Also, I hoped that if we met he might find that he loved me, too.

Eventually, he agreed to come and spend the weekend, and although he'd said several times in his emails that he found me attractive, I made it clear to him that he would have his own bedroom and that I was happy to be just platonic friends. Well, although I actually used the word 'happy', it would have been more accurate if I'd used the word 'content'.

"Would you like me to hang your jacket up?" I asked as soon as we got inside my semi-detached house.

"No thanks," he said, moving discretely just out of my reach. "If you don't mind, I'd like to keep it on for a bit."

"Of course I don't mind," I sad, wondering if he was still cold or whether he thought he might need to make a quick escape. "If you want to freshen up, the bathroom's at the top of the stairs. I'll go and put the kettle on."

"It's okay. I'm fine," he said, following me into the kitchen.

He stood in silence, looking around as I filled the kettle and switched it on, and it was obvious that, despite the intimacy of our recent emails, he was still a little nervous in this strange environment. I quickly thought of something that I hoped would make him feel more at ease.

"There's the cake," I said proudly, pointing to the breakfast bar, "I baked it this morning, so it should be cool enough to eat now. Would you like some ice cream with it?"

"No thanks," he said, then in a quieter and slightly embarrassed tone he added. "No one's ever baked a cake for me before."

"Not even your mum?" I asked without thinking.

He just frowned and shook his head, making it obvious that further discussion on the topic would be unwelcome. In fact, that was the sort of reaction he gave me whenever I mentioned his family or his life back in his hometown.

As we sat at the breakfast bar, eating cake and drinking tea, it seemed to me that he was gradually thawing, both physically and mentally. That impression was reinforced when, without saying anything, he stood up, took off his jacket, and went to hang it up in the hallway. When he returned to the kitchen he held my gaze for a couple of seconds, and I felt that he was waiting for me, perhaps even challenging me, to comment. However, I remained silent and merely gave him an encouraging smile, which he reflected back to me before he sat down to finish his snack.

I always felt that little episode was a test, the first of many that he put to me. Anyway, it seems that I must have passed, because as soon as the last piece of cake disappeared from his plate he began asking me questions about my life, both past and present. Of course, I was pleased by his animated interest, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of information that I got from him in return.

After that I showed him where his bedroom was, so that he could unpack his tiny bag, then I began to prepare our evening meal. That night, we sat together on the sofa, not quite touching but not actually avoiding contact, while we drank a few beers and watched some TV. Eventually, it was clear that we were both tired and, knowing that he wouldn't broach the subject, I announced that I was going to bed.

"Feel free to stay up if you like," I said as I stood up. "And help yourself to more beer if you want. Just remember to switch the lights and TV off before you go to bed."

He declined the offer and said that he, too, wanted to go to bed, so we each retired to our separate rooms.

The following morning he was still in bed when I got up, though I later discovered that he'd been awake for some time. However, not wishing to disturb me, he'd been just lying there until he heard me having my shower. After breakfast, I took him on a tour of the city, where I bought him lunch in a restaurant that I thought would impress him. That turned out to be a mistake, however, because he obviously felt very uncomfortable there, so we ended up eating quickly and leaving as soon as we'd finished.

That evening we watched DVDs, and he got a little merry on just half of a bottle of wine, which allowed him to become relaxed enough to lean against me on the sofa. Again, at around midnight, I took the lead and announced that I was going to bed. When I stood up, he stayed sitting on the sofa and frowned in thought for a few seconds.

"Ya know," he said hesitantly. "If ya want, well, I could sleep in your room."

"You'd be very welcome," I said, trying to hide my elation, "but only if you really want to. I told you that I don't expect anything and I meant it. Whatever you decide to do, or not to do, we'll still be friends."

"Yeah, I really want to," he said with a smile.

"It's just that, well," I said, and hesitated before continuing, "After last night, I wondered if you felt about me that way. If you fancied me."

"I definitely fancy you," he said, his smile turning to a grin. "I wouldn't have come to visit if I hadn't."

"And last night?" I asked, though I suspected that I already knew the answer.

"Oh, I was just wanted to know if you'd keep your promise," he replied, trying to give the impression that it was something unimportant. "I was just wanted to see if you'd try and seduce me or put pressure on me."

We did sleep together that night, although it really was mostly just sleep. There was lots of kissing and cuddling, a little groping and fondling, but I got the impression that he wanted comfort and affection more than passion, and so I let him set the pace. After achieving manual orgasms we fell asleep, wrapped in one another's arms. When I awoke the next morning to find him still asleep with his head resting on my shoulder, I knew for certain that I loved him.

That afternoon I drove him to the station, and as he waved goodbye and headed toward the platforms, I felt my heart sink. I'd hoped that he'd phone me as soon as he got home, and was very disappointed when he didn't. However, my spirits were lifted greatly later that evening when I received his email thanking me for a great weekend and saying that he hoped we could meet again soon.

Over the course of the next month he came for two more weekends, and during each visit we became closer emotionally, and he grew more adventurous sexually. A few times when we were being physically intimate we'd used the word 'love', but never at any other time. So, at the end of the third visit, as we were driving to the station, I felt that I had to express my feelings at a time when the word might have more significance.

"I hope you know," I said a little hesitantly. "I hope you know that I love you. I mean, really love you, not just sexually."

There was a long silence, during which my heart sank into my stomach.

"You don't really know me," he said eventually. "Not the real me."

"I know enough," I countered, trying to hide my disappointment at his response. "And, in any case, does anyone ever really know someone else."

"Maybe if you knew more, you wouldn't feel the same."

"I'm sure I would!" I protested. "But if you think I should know more, you can just tell me. You must know by now that you can trust me with anything."

Oh, how many times in the last few months have I recalled those words? How many times have I wished that I'd known their real significance? However, on that particular day I just passively accepted his cryptic response.

"Maybe," he said. "We'll just have to see what happens."

That night, I waited up until after midnight, hoping in vain for a phone call or email from him, and as the hours dragged on, I gave more and more significance to the fact that he'd not said how he felt about me. Even after I went to bed I couldn't sleep, convinced that my declaration of love, so relatively early in our relationship, had scared him off. I desperately wished that I could turn back time and erase what I'd said.

Three days later, despite sending him several emails, each more frantic and desperate than those that had preceded it, I still hadn't heard from him. Worry made me nauseous, so that I couldn't eat, and I loathed myself for expressing my feelings for him so impulsively. Then, just before midnight, he phoned.

"Hi James," he greeted me. His voice was quiet and his tone very subdued. "Sorry I've not been in touch. I lost my internet connection."

"What happened?" I asked, trying not to sound as if I were rebuking him. "Why didn't you phone me before now? Didn't you know I'd be worried?"

"Well, yeah, I s'pose so," he said in the same subdued tone, and I got the impression that he really cared about how he might have upset me, but for some reason couldn't express it. "The internet and phone got cut off. I couldn't pay the bills. I'm calling from a friend's house."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I said, trying to hide my frustration. "Surely you know I'd be happy to lend you, or even give you, anything you need, especially if it's so we can stay in touch."

"Yeah, I guess," he said vaguely.

"Well, I'll send you a cheque tomorrow. Just tell me how much you need and where I should send it."

"Yeah, about that... do you still love me?"

"Of course I do," I said, taken aback by his question. "What makes you think that I wouldn't? Love doesn't get switched on and off like a light bulb."

"Well, erm, there's nowhere to send a cheque, cos I've nowhere to live. I'm staying with a friend for a couple of days, but have to leave by Friday... and I was wondering... I wondered if I could come and stay with you?"

"Of course you can!" I said without thought. "When are you coming?"

"Yeah, well, about that, too... I don't have enough money for rail fare... or even for bus fare."

Of course I would gladly have sent him money but it didn't seem that there was anywhere to send it. Later, when I mentioned that to some friends they told me I was crazy to even consider sending money just like that. They suggested that it might have been some sort of scam, but even then I knew him well enough to know he'd never do that to me.

Now I also know that if I'd even hinted that I doubted his honesty in any way, he would have hung up and I'd never had heard from him again. Anyway, at the time of that phone conversation, none of that even occurred to me. My brain, for three days deprived of both food and sleep, wrestled only with the problem of how to get him here. Then the obvious solution hit me.

"I'll drive over and pick you up," I said. "Just tell me where and when."

"I s'pose, what with work, you couldn't manage tomorrow?" he asked, sounding both relieved and hesitant.

"Yeah, of course I can manage it. I can easily take a day off."

Although I wasn't the boss of the IT business that employed me, I was in charge of my own section, and it wasn't unusual for me to work from home. So we arranged to meet at noon the following day in the car park of his town's railway station.

When I picked him up I was surprised to find that, apart from the small overnight bag I'd seen before, he had only a medium sized suitcase and a large, heavy cardboard box.

"Is that it?" I asked as he got into the car after loading up the boot. "Is that all your stuff?"

"It's all that's worth keeping," he told me without emotion. "Just some clothes and my computer. I threw everything else away when I had to leave the flat."

"I thought you lived with your mum?" I said.

"I wasn't lying!" he protested.

"I never said you were. I was just wondering."

"It was her flat, the one I got thrown out of," he said. Then he sighed and added, "After she died I couldn't keep up with the rent, bills, and stuff."

When?" I asked, knowing he'd understand what I meant.

"A few weeks before I went on the dating site," he said, then sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "Heart attack. At least it was quick. She was watching TV when I went to bed one night, and she was still sitting there, dead, when I got up next morning."

"What about your dad?" I asked, trying to distract both of us from the horrific thought of him finding his mother's dead body.

"The bastard walked out on us when I was a little kid, and I've not seen him since. Last I heard, years ago, he was supposed to be in London."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked gently.

He shrugged and there was misery in his eyes as he replied. "I thought I could cope. I didn't want you to feel sorry for me. I wanted you to like me, and I didn't want you to think that I was going to be sponging off you."

"You know that I more than just like you," I said, reaching out to squeeze his arm, "and I'd never think you were just sponging off me. And even if I did, it wouldn't bother me."

His only response was a wan smile and a brief nod of the head.

Neither of us said much during the long drive back to what was now to be his home as well as mine. When we arrived we carried his things into the house, and as soon as I'd shut the front door I turned and gave him a hug. Although obviously surprised by that gesture, he returned it, albeit a little tentatively.

"You know you can still have your own bedroom," I pointed out.

"Nah, I'd rather sleep with you, if that's okay?"

"Of course it is," I said happily.

"Maybe I should set up my computer in the other room, though? I'm not sure there's enough space with all your stuff."

"Great idea," I said. "And you can always think of it as your room, to use whenever you want."

"Thanks," he said, then this time he surprised me by giving me a timid hug.

The next few months were the happiest of my life, though perhaps if I hadn't been so happy I'd have paid more attention to making sure that Harry was also happy. Still, he seemed happy enough, apart from having to see the doctor about his headaches. He even started putting some weight onto his skinny frame, making me feel proud that he obviously enjoyed my cooking.

Sometimes he seemed a bit sad, and I guessed he was still grieving for his mum, so I took him out to movies or restaurants, always making sure that the latter were not so posh as to make him feel uncomfortable. A couple of times we even went to some local gay bars and clubs, where he attracted lots of positive attention, though I was very pleased to note that he never seemed interested in anyone but me. After those visits to the gay scene, however, he made it clear that he'd only go again if I really wanted him to do so. As those venues now had no great attraction for me, I was happy to scratch them off our list of things to do, and in any case I was perfectly content staying in and cuddling on the sofa with him.

There was one thing, though, that we both enjoyed and that always seemed to cheer him up, and that was to go for a walk along the local coastline. Even at the height of summer there were very few tourists, especially where there was no beach and where the rocky shoreline dipped steeply into the sea. One such place, less than a half hour drive from our house, rapidly became our favourite spot for a picnic.

One summer afternoon, during one such picnic, we lay side by side on the grass, which covered the area right up to the point at which the ground dipped suddenly down to the rocky shore. We were the only people for as far as the eye could see, and it seemed that we had the whole world, just for ourselves.

"Listen," he said in a whisper. "Do you hear that?"

"What?" I responded lazily. "You mean the seagulls?"

"No, not them."

"The sea crashing onto the rocks?" I guessed.

"Yes," he said, clearly taking pleasure in our little game. "What does it sound like to you?"

"Erm," I said, trying to sound a little goofy, "it sounds a bit like waves crashing onto rocks."

"Daft bugger!" he said, his laughter made even more delightful by its rarity. "Listen properly."

I closed my eyes and did as he told me.

"Sometimes," I suggested, "especially while the waves drain through the pebbles, I think it sounds a bit like a distant jet plane."

"Yes!" he said, childishly happy. "If I close my eyes I can imagine that I'm flying anywhere in the world."

Later, when it was time to go, he was reluctant to move.

"Ya know," he said dreamily, "I'd like to stay here forever. I think that this is my favourite place in the whole world."

"You mean this is better than being in bed with me?" I asked jokingly, pouting and pretending that he'd hurt my feelings.

"No, of course not," he replied with a grin, though I thought that I also detected a hint of sadness in his eyes.

One evening, a couple of months after he moved in, he seemed particularly distracted while we were eating dinner. Then, as we were clearing away the plates he apparently came to a decision.

"You know," he said, "I think I should really get a job."

"You don't need to," I pointed out. "I earn plenty for both of us."

"Still, it's not fair that you should pay all my expenses as well as your own."

"But you are quite cheap to run," I joked, but on seeing his face I immediately regretted my words.

"So that's what I am, is it?" he said bitterly, his eyes flashing with anger. "Just a cheap toy, an inexpensive luxury to keep around the house?"

I'd never seen him angry before, and I was scared, more by its unexpectedness than by its intensity.

"Of course that's not what you are!" I protested indignantly. "You're the person I love most in the world, and it's a pleasure to provide you with anything you need. But if it makes you happier to get a job, then it's fine with me."

That calmed him down, and after a couple of seconds he gave me a sheepish grin. The next day we started job hunting, but after a couple of weeks without success he was getting frustrated. So, by calling in a few favours, I managed to get him a job in the company where I worked. It wasn't much, involving working partly in the mail room and partly in the store room, but at least it brought him in some money of his own and gave him something to do during the daytime.

Although he seemed grateful at the time, it turned out that it wasn't demanding enough for him. After less than a month he began complaining about how boring it was, and on one occasion his supervisor quietly and discreetly mentioned to me that Harry didn't concentrate on the work and often made mistakes. So the next time he complained about being bored, I was ready with a response.

"Why don't you give the job up?" I suggested gently.

"That will mean I'm a failure," he said, frowning, "and that I've let you down."

"Of course it won't mean you're a failure. It will just mean that the job isn't suited for you. You're just too bright for such a trivial job," I said soothingly. "And it certainly won't be letting me down because I just want what makes you happy. Why don't you pack this job in and we can start looking for something better for you?"

"Okay," he said, frowning thoughtfully, "let's do that."

As it happened, nothing suitable turned up, and he seemed to grow content with the role of househusband, apparently spending much of his spare time on his computer.

Every night we slept together, always with plenty of kisses and cuddles, though we didn't have sex very often. Sometimes more than a week went by without a mutually induced orgasm, but that didn't bother me because he was always affectionate. After all, different people have different levels of sex drive and different physical needs.

Then, one night, almost nine months after our first meeting, while we were kissing and I was gently toying with his barely tumescent dick, he suddenly pulled away.

"It's no good is it?" he said, managing to combine both sadness and frustration in his tone.

"It's okay if you're not in the mood," I said gently. "I was only playing."

"But you'll think I don't fancy you," he said, sounding concerned and a little upset. "But I do. Honestly, I do."

"Like I said, that's okay," I said soothingly. "Not everyone has a high sex drive..."

"But that's the point!" he interrupted, obviously frustrated. "I used to have a good sex drive and I still want to do it, but well, now..."

His voice faded away into silence and eventually I decided to prompt him.

"Well, now?" I said.

"Well," he said, taking my hand and putting it on his flaccid dick, "now it just doesn't seem to work when I want it to."

At first I didn't know what to say, then when I decided what to say I felt reluctant and a little embarrassed. Eventually, I managed to speak.

"Have you thought of going to see the doctor about it?" I suggested tentatively. "Maybe he can give you something..."

"Actually," he interrupted in a caustic tone, "I think that's the fucking problem, not the solution!'

"What d'ya mean?" I asked, puzzled by that cryptic comment.

"Never mind," he said, then he sighed and added. "I'll sort it out myself."

Then before I could make any response he snuggled up to me and put his head on my shoulder.

"Let's just go to sleep now," he said, effectively ending the conversation.

For the next few months our life together settled down into a comfortable rhythm. He never mentioned if he'd been to see the doctor, and I was reluctant to ask, but it seemed to me that our sexual interactions were slowly getting more frequent. In any case, during the approach to Christmas my workload increased, and I was sometimes too tired to be interested in sex.

Over the Christmas vacation he sometimes appeared to be a little sad and withdrawn, but I supposed that at that particular time of year he was just missing his mum more than usual. So I concentrated on trying to give him the best Christmas I could, inviting those few of my friends he liked to join our festivities. Our New Year was quiet, not only because that was what he specifically requested but also because I was planning on a surprise party to celebrate our upcoming first anniversary.

I suppose that the exact date of the anniversary might be open to debate, but I decided that it should be the day we first met in person rather than the day that he moved in. Of course that was a unilateral decision, but consulting with him might have given away my plans for the surprise celebration. As it was, the fact that he was almost always in the house made it very difficult to keep those plans secret and even more difficult to ensure that his presents were well hidden.

Then, one bitterly cold January morning, just two days before our anniversary, I woke up alone in bed. Still half asleep, at first I thought that he'd gone to the bathroom, or that he was already downstairs, but when he didn't appear and I couldn't hear any sounds in the house I began to become concerned. I looked at the bedside clock and saw that it was only just after eight o'clock and still only just beginning to get light outside. It was at that point that I began to get seriously worried and began to call out his name, but there was no response.

Sensing that something was badly wrong, I began to panic and, still naked, I went through every room, but he wasn't in the house. Eventually, I saw the envelope he'd left on the breakfast bar. On the outside of the envelope was just my name and on the note inside there was just a simple "I'm sorry".

At first I thought that he was breaking up with me and had moved out, but when I looked around I saw that the only clothes he'd taken were the leather jacket and the jeans he'd been wearing when we first met. I picked up my phone and punched the button that would speed-dial his mobile phone, but there was no response and it didn't even switch to voice mail.

A feeling of dread swept through me, and although I didn't know exactly what it was that I dreaded, that feeling was potent enough to make me nauseous. I rushed to the bathroom and retched into the bowl, but only a little mucus could be dredged from my empty stomach. Eventually, I returned to my bedroom and sat on my bed, staring into empty space, wanting to go and find him, but not knowing where to look.

It was full daylight by the time the idea occurred to me, out of thin air and as if by magic. If he wasn't in bed with me, wouldn't he go to his other favourite place? I threw on whatever clothes were nearest to hand and went out to my car, crunching through the thin layer of snow. Then I drove to our favourite place and ran around, frantically calling out his name, but there was no response and he was nowhere to be seen.

On impulse, and without any real thought, I took out my phone and dialled his mobile again. Faintly, I heard his distinctive ring tone and followed the sound until I found him lying in a hollow with an almost-empty bottle of vodka and an empty bottle of pills. Even before I worked up the courage to touch him, I knew that he was cold, cold dead.

For most of the police investigation and subsequent inquest I was too dazed and sick with grief to absorb any information. Fortunately, I had a handful of good friends to take care of me, otherwise I think that I would have followed Harry into the darkness. Sometimes I still wish that I had. The police tried, probably not too hard, to trace his family, but without success. So I, or actually my friends on my behalf, organised the funeral.

Weeks later, as my sanity began to return, I began to assimilate the information that had been obtained by the police. After Harry's mother died he became clinically depressed and got medication from his doctor. From the browser history on his computer it appears that he'd found that sexual dysfunction is a possible side effect, and from the number of pills he'd swallowed, he'd obviously stopped taking them and had been hoarding them for some time.

Then, one night after I was asleep, he went out and found a taxi to take him to the coast. There, in our favourite place, he sat in the snow and swallowed the vodka and pills. I still don't know why he didn't confide in me, or how I didn't notice it when he was first taking the medication or, most of all, how he got out of our bed and left the house without waking me.

Oh, Harry! My dear, sweet Harry. You bastard!

Here I am, standing alone by your grave on this cold, grey bleak day. It's exactly a year since you left me, and in just two days it would have been our second anniversary.

Do you know how much I hated you for leaving me like that? Do you know that I smashed the presents I'd bought you with my bare hands until my fists were bleeding? Do you know how much I hated and despised myself for not realising how ill you were and how much you needed my help? Do you know how many times I wandered around the house hoping that maybe it was all a mistake and you would be there again?

Now, though, my hatred has faded, but I'm still angry and I miss you so, so, much. Now, as my mind keeps playing back the memories of our time together, I know that I was too blinded by love to see all the signs that you were ill. Now I realise that I was too immersed in my own happiness to notice just how unhappy you were.

Some day I might be able to forgive you for leaving me the way you did, but I know that I'll never be able to forgive myself for not trying harder to see the real you. And I still keep asking myself the same thing, over and over again.

If I hadn't decided to keep it as a surprise, or if you'd been able to hold on for just two more days, would my celebration of our anniversary have convinced you that I really, really love you, and so persuaded you not to leave me?

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