And think about yourself too

“Cheers for dropping that off, pal. See you soon.”

Hugh sat on the steps of 2 Lochrie Gardens as Jackie drove away. He was reeling from the news that Andie had left. They’d done another couple of jobs after the one in the Highlands and she’d mentioned nothing about even thinking of leaving. Things had been strained between them at first, after they’d talked at Andie’s flat, but it all went back to normal pretty quickly. Andie seemed more chilled out than usual though, now that Hugh thought about it. The recent jobs had been straightforward, burgling empty houses, and there hadn’t been any more talk about drugs. Hugh hadn’t told Andie that he’d been talking to John, that he’d said he needed more time to think about his offer. It seemed better not to say anything.

Pushing his hair back from his face, Hugh opened the envelope with his name on it, taking a deep breath and counting to ten before he started to read.

Hugh,

You probably sort of hate me right now and I don’t blame you. I tried to think of a way to tell you I was leaving but everything I came up with felt wrong. I figured you’d try to talk me out of it, or you’d be angry or upset, and I couldn’t handle it. I should have been braver but I think I used up all my courage just deciding to go.

I don’t want you to think it’s because of you or the work we do or that one job back in March and what came out of it. It isn’t. That stuff all got me thinking about what I wanted and where I wanted to be and I realised I needed to do something big, to change something, or I’d just keep drifting along forever, doing what I was doing, and I knew that wasn’t right. I never got over losing Kim but I can’t let myself get stuck making decisions based on grief and the need to fill the space she left.

I’m still in Scotland and once I get settled I’ll get in touch and let you know where I am, but I need to make a clean break for now. Don’t try to phone me. I’ve got a new number. I’ve got a new email address too and I won’t be looking at the old one, so please don’t email me either. Please give me space. Please don’t hate me too much.

I’m putting this here because I know what you’re like and if it’s in writing you might give it more thought than if I just said it to you. Please think seriously about what answer you give John. Think about if you really want to keep doing any of that, even the ‘removals’. I know you want to do right by Jamie and Kelly and your mum, but there are other ways. You landed on your feet when Angus passed on the decorating business to you and I know you have it in you to make a go of it without all the other stuff. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just asking you to think about it, really think about it, and think about yourself too for a change.

I’ll be in touch soon, I promise. Give Jamie my love. Actually hug him for me, whether he likes it or not. Embarrass the hell out of him. You might be the big brother I never asked for but you’re the best friend in the world. I love you so much there aren’t even words for it. Take it easy, pal.

Sergeant Thomas xx

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