*This is the final installment of There’s Something I need to Tell You. If you would prefer to read all previous parts in order first they can all be found under the fiction tab in the header above of clicking these links. ONE, TWO, THREE and Tammy and Paul*
Tammy closed the door behind her and stood there still. It had been a whole week since the funeral and two weeks since she had lost her best friend. She had no tears left, her heart struggling to beat with the massive black hole that had appeared since that day. She tried to think about Carly. The Carly she was before. Before the lump, before the appointments and the tears. Before words like terminal, I’m sorry, nothing more we can do, death. But she couldn’t. The images of Carly from before ruined and distorted by the cancer. The disease that ravaged her friend unforgivably and brutally and so totally. She could see her smile, faint and weak as they laughed about all the things they were going to do when she fought it and won. But her eyes betrayed her and they both knew it was nothing but pie in the sky. A fantasy of dreams unrealised, experiences so cruelly stolen from them both and Tammy left without the person who she had always been able to count on.
She felt her body slowly giving away underneath her and realised she was now sitting on the floor. Her head resting on the wooden panel until the shrill of the phone shocked her back into the here and now. Easing herself up she made her way to the kitchen but the answer machine kicked in before she made it there. Paul asking if she would like him to bring her anything back. He had taken the boys out the three of them, she was now Joel’s legal guardian, Carly made it official in her last weeks, and the baba too while she went to pack up all of her best friends life into boxes. How could a whole life be boxed away like that for storage. To be put away in a place, forgotten about, discarded now the owner wasn’t here bring it all back to life.
It was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do. She felt like she was trespassing almost. Intruding on Carly and her inner most secrets. She had found herself looking around frequently expecting her to walk in any second and hit the roof like that time she caught her reading her diary aged 13, when she swore she never ever, ever speak to Tammy again. It seemed never, ever, ever had a time span of 17 minutes and 32 seconds. Tammy never touched any of her stuff again. It all felt so wrong especially when she walked downstairs to find Carly’s parents making themselves a coffee with Carly’s kettle and Carly’s coffee, it was all she could do not to explode herself. Instead she walked back out and busied herself so as not to think of it.
Like she would now, and had done every day since 5th February. She would cook and clean. She would paste a smile on her made up face, beaming out from behind her red lipstick, but her mascara hid the pain in her eyes behind her now voluminous lashes. She would watch Peppa Pig with the baba and drive the boys to football. She would be strong for them. She wouldn’t think about it she would just do. Till it all went away. Till the pain stopped.
Reaching into her pocket she found the locket. Rubbing her fingers over the intricate detailing on the front, Celtic if she remembered rightly, before stopping at the tiny diamond set at the edge like a button. One press and all it’s inner most secrets and desires would come spilling out for all to see. But Tammy wasn’t going to press that button, not yet. Tracing her fingers across the etching on the back made Tammy catch her breathe once more even though she didn’t need to look at it to know what it said. The tears she thought had dried up began to moisten her eyes once more as she slowly released the locket from it cocoon of denim and into view. ‘I give you my heart’ whispered Tammy as she remembered one of her last conversations with Carly.
‘Tams babe’ she had said ‘In my bedroom, top drawer in my favourite dresser’ Your only one scoffed Tammy ‘that’s why it’s my favourite dumb ass. There is something I want you to have. Take this key and when the time is right take it and keep it but not yet, after you know?’ Tammy had tried to brush her off as being silly for buying her gifts joking had she been online shopping coz she knew damn well she hadn’t been shopping in actual shops without her! Bribed the nurses I did she said with a laugh. Sense of humour till the very end. But now looking at the delicate piece of jewellery wrapped round her fingers it didn’t seem so funny. Tammy knew what was in it without even looking. The picture of them just before the boys were born, pregnant bellies proudly on display with specially made tshirts saying bff’s and arrows pointing to each others bumps. Carly was so unbelievably excited they were going to be parents at the same time, even though it would be Tammy’s second baby boy. She loved that picture did Carly. She would talk for hours about how our boys would be best friends like us forever, almost like brothers. Little did they all know that one day, this day the boys would be living as brothers. Carly had literally given Tammy her heart, her sole reason for fighting, her Joel, her baby boy. He was the thing that made heart beat for longer than it ever should of done. Bolstering up her beaten body and helping to fight tooth and nail to the bitter end.
Tammy knew deep down as soon as the papers were signed and all official, that rat who Joel once called dad, had done his part in signing over all parental custody, the days were numbered for her beautiful friend. She was hanging on to make sure her baby would get the best possible life without her and Tammy had vowed to make sure this would happen. Together they had planned out his future, discussed all possible scenarios and how Carly wanted Tammy to deal with them. Good and the bad! She helped her to write cards and letters for her boy as he grew and also Carly wrote letters to Tammy to help keep her strong and give her advice should she ever struggle. This amused Tammy no end, control freak to the end she thought, typical Carly!
The sound of the key in the door snapped Tammy back to the present and she quickly slipped the locket back to it’s hiding place and rushed to sweep the boys into the kitchen. I’ll be damned if they’re getting their muddy feet anywhere in my house. Seeing their faces all red from the windburn of the colder than usual February weather warmed her heart. While they obliged with the removal of all mud covered clothing items she popped the kettle on for hot chocolates all round and she caught site of Joel staring at her intently with his mother’s eyes. He smiled at her and Tammy knew they would be alright. All of them.
*Oh guys I’m so sorry it ended this way. I am literally sobbing as I am writing this, I feel like I have actually lost someone real. I hope I haven’t disappointed anyone with the ending to this little mini series of stories. I feel like this is the natural ending for these characters and hopefully ties up all loose ends and answers your questions from previous instalments. Thank you for reading and sharing this with me*