Kelly had arranged to meet up with her University friends at Portrush on the Antrim Coast. She died rather surprisingly quickly in the end and didn't get there but the girls decided to go anyway as a way of commemorating her and Dee and I went too, as her representatives on earth. We had no children, as they all did, but brought along Maggie the dog in her capacity as both hairy baby and tireless child's plaything.
There was a lot of ball chucking on the beach by Barry's amusements and later on there was much drinking of wine, expired beer and alcoholic ginger ale. I was no replacement for Kelly. I lack her presence, her vibrancy. Even at my best, and I am far from my best at the moment, I couldn't really compete with her charm and immediacy. And I never tried either, happy to bask in her reflected glory, watching her work the room, delighting all comers. So while I am attempting to continue her ministry on earth I'm not really up to the gig.
It was an odd experience looking back over the pictures of lost and gone Kelly's that I never knew. She was protean and I had no idea. I had assumed that before she met me she had always looked like she did when she met me. But no, there were dozens of Kellys, all subtly different, all over the shop. It just serves to remind me what a ridiculously short time I had her for. And it it makes me jealous of people who knew her longer.