It Doesn’t Mean Anything

The temperature is tepid,
flags flick and flex in the winter wind from every window,
lit up by advent candles,
because the football is apparently coming home for Christmas,
after ignoring its obligations for several years (unless a woman asked),
and every night,
the pub is buzzing,
because people finally have something to look forward to on this mad little island.

You told me that you got married, but it’s just for show.
I stared back in shock.
You reached for my hand under the table,
as if you could still do that,
and I snatched it away,
because I can still do that.
It’s all I can do, really,
apart from tutting,
crying out that I didn’t even want to come out tonight.

We both know what I’m saying,
but we let it drown in the noise of the neighbouring pub patrons.
It isn’t that I don’t care about the football (I don’t, but still…),
it isn’t that I hate the crowds (I do, but still…),
it’s just a thing that has followed us for years,
something I can’t remember how to explain to you again,
because this is how it’s always been.
It’s okay,
according to the wisdom of a dummy who has been playing this game for over a decade.
It’s okay, because it’s just for show.
It doesn’t mean anything.

Do I mean anything?
Do you laugh and smile in his bed and tell him that I don’t mean anything?
The railway bridge on the way home will look so tempting in the moonlight now I’ve given that some thought,
but you just tell me that I ought to lighten up.
It’s Christmas.
The football might have plans to come home.
You still love me best of all.

It’s okay.
I just say those things, that’s all.
It doesn’t mean anything.

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