There is an amethyst geode that sits on his desk. They’d gone to Whitby together and gone into one of those odd little shops, full of the Dracula memorabilia and they’d seen it sitting there on the second shelf up. A tiny, handwritten note had £250 written on it in a cursive script and it sat nestled between the purple crystals, a thin vein of sunlight stabbed through a gap in the curtains and set kaleidoscopic patterns rippling across the lined scrap.
‘We have to have it.’ She told him. ‘It’s beautiful.’ She smiled as she inspected it closely, paying close attention to the DO NOT TOUCH THE SPECIMENS sign. The shop had made an effort, printing it in Comic Sans of all things, in order to draw attention to it. ‘It’s so beautriefied.’
‘You know that that’s not a word, right?’ He grins back at her. He knows that he’s going to give in and buy the rock, but he has to at least put on the show. ‘It’s also about £200 more than my budget can allow.’
‘But it’s purple and pretty and I want it.’ She pouted her pale lips. ‘Pwetty pwease?’
He ummed and ahhed, stroking his defined chin before reaching out and picking up the rock. He could hear the kerfuffle from the counter as the assistant, a slightly overweight lady in her late thirties rushed over. ‘You can’t touch that, Sir.’ She breathed. ‘It’s against the rules.’
He held it out in front of him, a faux look of shock crossing his face. ‘But what if I’m going to buy it?’ Both women smiled and his partner gave a little clap of joy.
He lifted the rock from his desk and pulled out a sheaf of paper from underneath it. He dropped his glasses in front of his eyes and squinted at the type. He leaned back in his wheeled chair and put his feet on the dark wood of the desk, cutting mat and all. He leaned his head back and caught a glimpse of silver.
The glimpse of silver is the rim of a tall stack of cider cans, held together with duct tape. The fabled High Wizard’s Staff of ’98. 16 cans high, the triumph of Pete’s engagement party. They’d all signed it, everyone who’d been there at the party that night. Pete, who had been so upset when his own staff had fallen short in more ways than one. Jacob in his pirate costume, Cara as a German milkmaid. He still couldn’t work out why they’d dressed up, it had never been sold as a costume party. But they had, for some inexplicable reason, and it had just made the party better. Jackie, Oscar, Talia. And Sharon.
He spun his chair around, taking in the other random instruments and gewgaws from a life with Sharon. He sighed, then leaned forward and took out his fountain pen, signing his name on the divorce papers.
It’s amazing, the things you keep. The only issue is the things that get left behind.
The Idiot in Tin Foil