Hannah’s dad holds the local paper close to his cataract-clouded eyes and cries when he reads about Ken Todd. Dabbing his face with a grubby handkerchief, he eulogizes his old friend.
Good mate. Genuine bloke.
Hannah remembers Ken Todd’s hand gripping her thigh, inches above her grazed, plastered knee, on the back seat of her dad’s car. She remembers his sorry not sorry look, blaming her dad for taking a corner too fast.
Life and soul of any party. Always up for a laugh.
Hannah remembers Ken Todd’s fingers, pincering the flesh between her jeans and her crop top. She remembers how she cried when he asked who’d eaten the pies, and her dad, embarrassed, saying she needed to learn to take a joke.
Student at the university of life.
Hannah remembers Ken Todd’s thumbs kneading her shoulders. She remembers how he told her to relax as he leaned over, pretending to help with her homework, his cigarette breath on her neck and his hands wandering down to where her bra fastened, lingering there too long, his laughter at her panic.
Pillar of the community. Salt of the earth.
Hannah remembers Ken Todd’s hands, clasped beneath his chin in a parody of prayer at her mum’s funeral. She remembers them later, at the wake, circling her waist as he whispered whisky-sodden words of consolation into her ear, all the time looking down her blouse.
Heart of gold. Would give you his last pound.
Hannah must have blocked out, until now, Ken Todd’s hand in her knickers, the time he took her to see his backyard aviary and the five-pound note he produced afterwards, from his wallet in exchange for her silence.
Always something about him though, says Hannah’s dad, meeting her eye at last, that you couldn’t quite put your finger on.