Every little thing gonna be alright

Bob Marley was dead, to begin with.

Eleventh of May nineteen eighty and so did stop the clock of his life. Money can’t buy life: those were his last words. So dead he was they did him a state funeral back in Jamaica. Buried him with his guitar they did.

Now he’s telling me to chill. Telling me to take it easy. Telling me if he sorted that carbuncle on his toe he could still be rocking stead of chilling with me.

He tells me it’s all going to be all right I will dig up that guitar and bury him a second time.

He wants to know how Janet’s doing. She doing alright?

She has a date tonight. It’s the third date, and she wears the underwear I bought her. I’m still in awe how something so lacy has such tensile strength.

Not cool, man, Bob says, but there’s a wistful look on his face. And then he grins at me, asks me did I join her in the shower again?

The size of our shower? It is not erotic, a woman shaving her armpits and you with a thermostatic mixer valve where your arse should be.

She smiles a lot as she dresses, flitting from the wardrobe to the mirror and back again. Time and time again we never made it past this stage. Holding her softly from behind, my fingers on the zip at the back of her dress. He eyes wide and so innocent: zip me up, or we’ll be late.

Time and time again we texted from the bed. One of the kids is sick, or the car won’t start.

But no one is sick and the car does start and she is gone.

I am alone in the house we once shared, but only for moments. Time has no meaning now. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, and it should be a drag but blink and all of a sudden it is eleven at night and her key sounds in the lock and then it’s the three of us together in the hallway with this awkward silence.

And silence as she takes him by the hand. Silence as they mount the stairs, and silence as they shed their clothes, and silence, so much silence as they commit the act in my bed.

And silence as I scream, and silence as I flail my arms in pointless rage against the makeup ranks and perfume bottles littering her dressing table.

How many times have I tried this? How many times have I scrunched up my mind, trying to move it, just a tiny fraction of one lousy millimetre, nudge that filigree frame of the two of us she put face down on the dressing table before she left for her date. Futility, I am thee. More futile this than arguing against an unpaid tax bill.

The silence broken at last as he snores. Janet lays next to him, naked and flushed, naked breasts heaving lightly. She glows, and there is a lightness to her face I have not seen in months.

And she cries.

Cries in silence. And Bob is right.

Everything will be all right.